What is the Urban Forest?
If we look for an ecological definition of a forest, we may find that it is an association of all the plants,animals and geological features that occur in a landscape dominated by trees. If we look around the world, we find that the degree of this domination by trees varies greatly, between the rain forests of the tropics and the savanna oak forests of the prairie edges of the temperate regions. The switch from this definition to one of the urban forest, requires only that we add man as a major animal and various anthropological features to the geological ones. Ecologically, every feature has some effect on every other part of the system. If they are in balance, the system is working properly.
Who is the Urban Forester?
As the forester is charged with managing the forest, so is the urban forester charged with managing that portion of our forest which is impacted by trees. The urban forester is sometimes referred to an an arborist. I believe that there is a significant distinction between the two careers. I have heard the arborist defined as one who facilitates the coexistence of people and trees. The arborist deals with the care of trees, much as a medical specialist. The urban forester is more along the lines of the hospital administrator, while he/she may also be a doctor, they are also a politician, lawyer, personnel manager, and bookkeeper, among other things.