Homeowners’ Attitudes toward Trees Following Hurricane Sandy — International Society of Arboriculture

Homeowners’ Attitudes toward Trees Following Hurricane Sandy (#AREA 03)

Alexis Alvey 1 , Nina Bassuk 2 , Jason Grabosky 3
  1. Florida International University, Miami
  2. Cornell University, Ithaca, NY
  3. Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ

In October 2012, Hurricane Sandy caused significant damage to the East Coast of the United States.  Long Island, New York and the state of New Jersey were among the areas most seriously affected.  An electronic survey was developed (1) to assess homeowner perceptions of urban trees on Long Island and New Jersey less than six months after these regions were significantly impacted by Sandy, and (2) to determine homeowners’ plans for future tree management and care.  There were 1173 responses, and results indicated that homeowners perceived urban trees positively, despite the recent storm.  Strong agreement was found with positive statements about trees, especially regarding trees’ environmental and aesthetic benefits.  Survey respondents were most concerned with trees disrupting power and damaging their homes in future storms.  However, these concerns were not so great as to make homeowners feel that trees are dangerous or that the risks of trees outweigh their benefits.  Respondents did not have strong opinions regarding plans for future tree management and care of existing trees.  While homeowners agreed that properly cared for trees are less dangerous, they were ambivalent about plans for having their trees’ health checked or pruned more frequently.  Over half of homeowners indicated that they planned on planting trees, especially those small in size, on their properties in the near future.