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Trees in the Small City Retail Business District: Comparing Resident and Visitor Perceptions

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Many small cities and towns are located near resource lands, and their central business districts serve both residents and visitors. Such quasi-rural retail centers face competitive challenges from regional shopping malls, online purchasing, and big box discount retailers. District merchants must strategically enhance their market position to prevent outshopping. Streetscape trees are a physical improvement that can be used to attract and welcome consumers. A national survey evaluated public perceptions, patronage behavior intentions, and product willingness-to-pay in relationship to depictions of trees in retail settings. Results suggest that consumer behavior is positively associated with the urban forest on multiple cognitive and behavioral dimensions. Forest amenities of both wildland and built environments can be used to strengthen local economies.

Keywords: environmental management; forest; forest management; forest resources; forestry; forestry research; forestry science; natural resource management; natural resources; public perception; retail business; small city; urban forestry

Document Type: Regular Article

Affiliations: Research Social Scientist Forest Resources University of Washington, Box 352100, Seattle WA 98195, Email:

Publication date: December 1, 2005

More about this publication?
  • The Journal of Forestry is the most widely circulated scholarly forestry journal in the world. In print since 1902, the Journal has received several national awards for excellence. The mission of the Journal of Forestry is to advance the profession of forestry by keeping forest management professionals informed about significant developments and ideas in the many facets of forestry: economics, education and communication, entomology and pathology, fire, forest ecology, geospatial technologies, history, international forestry, measurements, policy, recreation, silviculture, social sciences, soils and hydrology, urban and community forestry, utilization and engineering, and wildlife management. The Journal is published bimonthly: January, March, May, July, September, and November.
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