USDA Forest Service

Pacific Southwest Research Station

Pacific Southwest
Research Station

800 Buchanan Street
Albany, CA 94710-0011
(510) 883-8830
United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service. USDA logo which links to the department's national site. Forest Service logo which links to the agency's national site.

Research Topics Urban Forestry

Urban trees provide people with a variety of ecosystem services but can also be the source of disservices, such as damage to infrastructure. (U.S. Forest Service)

Infrastructure Conflicts

Trees need space to grow. With cities struggling to accommodate the needs of increasing populations, tree space is a precious commodity. In California alone, well over $70 million is spent each year to repair damages caused by tree roots to urban infrastructure, such as sidewalks, curbs, sewer lines, driveways, and foundations. In many cases, repairs are deferred due to budget limitations, which results in increased liability risks associated with 'trip and fall' incidents.

In some cities the cost of sidewalk repair is being shifted to residents. This shift impacts residents in older areas, where trees are larger, infrastructure has deteriorated, and tree-sidewalk conflicts are most severe. We study how cities can best alter tree planting and maintenance to minimize damage to the urban infrastructure, while maintaining the health of the urban forest.

Effects of Street Tree Shade on Asphalt Concrete Pavement Performance
Effects of Street Tree Shade on Asphalt Concrete Pavement Performance