New England in peak fall

Tree doctors needed— The demand for arborists surges as New England’s forests respond to climate change

UMass arborists were featured in a New York Times article discussing the future of New England’s trees and the increasing need for arborists and foresters. 

October 26, 2020

Forests in the Northeast are changing with the warming planet. Extreme weather, pests, air pollution, and increased temperatures are only some of the threats on the long list of stressors taking a toll on New England’s picturesque woodlands. According to UMass conservationists Paul Catanzaro and Kristina Bezanson, the dire situation in our forests has led to a shortage of arborists.  

 

From “New England’s Forests Are Sick. They Need More Tree Doctors:” 

 

Many arborists say they are spending more time taking down dead or unhealthy trees than ever before. 

“We are a heavily treed state,” said Kristina Bezanson. “We are having more tree problems that require lots of arborists, and there is a shortage of arborists.” 

Bezanson, who is among those training the next generation of arborists, said she sees rising demand not just regionally but nationwide in the profession’s three principal sectors: commercial, municipal (also called urban forestry), and utility. Graduates specializing in arboriculture “have so many jobs waiting for them, they get to pick and choose,” Ms. Bezanson said. “I like to say they have a 150 percent job placement rate.” 

The growing demand has been accompanied by a recognition that there is ever more to know: about pests, climate change, disease, safety, and the science of trees. 

In the United States, families own 35 or so percent of forests — about 263,000,000 acres — according to the Family Forest Research Center in Amherst, Mass. In Massachusetts, families own 70 percent of the forests. Much of the future of the region’s landscape is bound up in decisions these families are making. 

“Keeping forest as forest is one of the biggest challenges. The nation is experiencing the largest shift of generational assets that the country has ever seen, the biggest shift of land ownership,” said Paul Catanzaro. “We are seeing landowners becoming more aware of climate change impacts and, more importantly, the role their land can play in mitigating climate change.” 

 

Read on: 

Full article in the New York Times: “New England’s Forests Are Sick. They Need More Tree Doctors” 

Share this story: