Research Poll Shows Overwhelming Support for Tree Preservation In Response to Emerald Ash Borer

Sep 18, 2013, 17:10 ET from Arborjet

MINNEAPOLIS, Sept. 18, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- New research polling data released today shows that more than 7 in 10 Minneapolis, MN residents support treatment options for the protection of residential and city-managed ash trees as part of the city's Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) management program. Fewer than 1 in 10 believe the city should remove otherwise healthy ash trees, as is currently planned. 

Minneapolis is one of hundreds of municipalities around the country currently under attack by EAB - an invasive pest first found in the United States in 2002. It was first detected in Minnesota, which has the highest number of ash trees of any state in the nation, in 2009. EAB is now considered the most destructive forest pest ever identified in North America.

As part of the Urban Canopy Preservation Project, the community research survey was commissioned to address the lack of public sentiment data on the issue of how cities respond to Emerald Ash Borer. The survey was independently conducted by the Public Policy Polling organization, on behalf of Arborjet, and supported by a coalition of leading urban forest and plant health experts and industry representatives.

A full 82 percent of those surveyed said they would expect city leaders to adopt an environmentally sound method to protect the city's ash tree canopy – and by a margin of 7 to 1 would be more likely to support elected officials who supported a plan to preserve the city's ash trees. When informed about the proposed tax increase of at least $1.2 Million annually, which would exclusively fund the costs of removal and replacement of boulevard and park ash trees, 72 percent of Minneapolis voters polled were in opposition to the measure, with only 9 percent in support.

"Minneapolis residents should expect to have a voice in something this critical to the city and its future," said Rob Gorden, Director of Urban Forestry, Arborjet.  "These stark polling results show the high level of concern for the city's urban forest and the ash trees that contribute to the quality of life of every resident. Clearly, residents value mature trees and the benefits they provide, including lower energy and water consumption, higher property values, greater neighborhood character and critical natural habitats. It's time for leaders to reassess the current plan and consider the public's opinion on this important issue."

Thirty-eight percent of respondents were not aware there were different methods for treating trees, such as trunk injection, soil drenching and soil injection, highlighting a need for greater awareness of proven methods used by other large cities and urban forestry departments that have negligible impact on the environment, soil, groundwater, or pollinators.  Additionally, an overwhelming 93 percent believe that mature trees are valuable to their homes and neighborhoods and are worth preserving. The full polling memo can be accessed here.

Some of the largest, most-respected and environmentally forward-thinking municipal forestry departments in the country, including Milwaukee, Chicago and Rochester, NY, have included treating trees as part of an integrated approach to managing EAB. Elsewhere in Minnesota, the cities of Saint Paul, Shoreview, New Brighton, Richfield, and Winona, among others – are already protecting their ash populations in a way that is environmentally sound, saves valued trees and tax dollars.

The representative telephone sample of more than 650 Minneapolis registered voters was conducted September 6Sept 8, 2013 by Public Policy Polling, a non-partisan, independent polling organization conducting frequent opinion studies throughout the U.S. The poll had a maximum sampling error +/- 3.8 percent

The Urban Canopy Preservation Project is backed by Arborjet in partnership with a coalition of industry experts in urban forestry and plant health.

It has conducted numerous pilot projects and trunk injection treatment demonstrations in cities across the country in support of community tree conservation. Project participants include researchers, foresters, arborists, agricultural and pest management industries, and environmental organizations. Preserving trees protects air and water quality, natural habitats, and public health.

Contact: Erin Vadala, Warner Communications; 978-468-3076

SOURCE Arborjet