Excellent overview of the benefits of trees in the landscape.
Most Americans consume diets that do not meet Federal dietary recommendations. A common explanation is that healthier foods are more expensive than less healthy foods. To investigate this assumption, the authors of this USDA study compare prices of healthy and less healthy foods using three different price metrics: the price of food energy ($/calorie), the price of edible weight ($/100 edible grams), and the price of an average portion ($/average portion). They also calculate the cost of meeting the recommendations for each food group. For all metrics except the price of food energy, the authors find that healthy foods cost less than less healthy foods (defined for this study as foods that are high in saturated fat, added sugar, and/or sodium, or that contribute little to meeting dietary recommendations). Bottom line — it depends on how you measure their price! See http://www.ers.usda.gov/publications/eib96/.
Perhaps flowers, shrubs, and trees are also perceived as expensive relative to other things that folks might spend their disposable income dollars on, particularly if the end consumer perceives them as mere interior and exterior landscape enhancements. But if all of the economic, environmental, and health/well-being benefits are considered, then plants are the best bargain going. Again, it depends on how you measure their price! See http://www.americainbloom.org/resources/Discover-Plants-Brochure-and-Presentation.aspx.
Publication year: 2012
Source:Landscape and Urban Planning
Austin Troy, J. Morgan Grove, Jarlath O’Neil-Dunne
The extent to which urban tree cover influences crime is in debate in the literature. This research took advantage of geocoded crime point data and high resolution tree canopy data to address this question in Baltimore City and County, MD, an area that includes a significant urban–rural gradient. Using ordinary least squares and spatially adjusted regression and controlling for numerous potential confounders, we found that there is a strong inverse relationship between tree canopy and our index of robbery, burglary, theft and shooting. The more conservative spatially adjusted model indicated that a 10% increase in tree canopy was associated with a roughly 12% decrease in crime. When we broke down tree cover by public and private ownership for the spatial model, we found that the inverse relationship continued in both contexts, but the magnitude was 40% greater for public than for private lands. We also used geographically weighted regression to identify spatial non-stationarity in this relationship, which we found for trees in general and trees on private land, but not for trees on public land. Geographic plots of pseudo-t statistics indicated that while there was a negative relationship between crime and trees in the vast majority of block groups of the study area, there were a few patches where the opposite relationship was true, particularly in a part of Baltimore City where there is an extensive interface between industrial and residential properties. It is possible that in this area a significant proportion of trees is growing in abandoned lands between these two land uses.
America in Bloom has announced the release of a 12-page, full color educational brochure titled, “Discover the Surprising Side of Plants.” Based on research and publications by America in Bloom (AIB) board member Charles Hall, PhD of Texas A&M and others, the brochure summarizes benefits of plants “beyond pretty” for people, communities, neighborhoods, and even offices. Illustrated with photos from many participating America in Bloom towns, the brochure concludes that “quality landscapes are a necessity, not a luxury.”
A PowerPoint presentation based on the brochure is available for teachers to use in their curricula and for others to share in their own presentations.
The brochure will be offered to attendees at the AIB exhibit at the Philadelphia Flower Show, OFA’s Short Course and other venues. AIB sponsors at the gold or higher level are eligible to receive up to 500 complimentary copies.
“This piece is an ideal promotional tool for nurseries and garden centers. We feel so strongly about the benefits of plants to the well-being of people, towns, and even the economy, that we are offering the printed brochure to interested parties at our cost, plus shipping,” says Marvin Miller, AIB’s president.
To download the brochure and related presentation, go to www.americainbloom.org/discover_plants.aspx.
The plethora of benefits provided by flowers, shrubs, and trees is not common knowledge, let alone ingrained in modern day American culture. Humans often have difficulty in even seeing flowers or plants in their own environment, much less connecting plants to tangible benefits – a phenomenon called plant blindness. For most people, flowers and other plants are a part of the subconscious sector of mental life, perceived as the backdrop, not the main actors in the playing out of our everyday lives.
All industry firms need to emphasize these types of “benefits” messages in the marketing efforts of their individual companies. A new publication that summarizes these benefits is entitled Economic, Environmental, and Health/Well-Being Benefits Associated with Green Industry Products and Services: A Review and was published in the Journal of Environmental Horticulture (Issue 29(2):96-103) thanks to the Horticultural Research Institute. Since previous efforts on the part of the industry to provide a united voice through a generic advertising campaign (e.g. Got Milk) have been met with a less-than-enthusiastic response, firm-level marketing of these benefits may be the best alternative (in the short run) to propagate the quality of life value proposition.
Of course, one industry-wide effort that is already in place that has shown to be quite effective in conveying this message is America in Bloom (AIB). Now in its tenth anniversary, the program has countered early naysayers by effectively not only conveying the industry’s message of beautification, but one of economic development, provision of environmental amenities, and enhancement of health and well-being as well. Almost 200 cities and several million citizens have been exposed to AIB’s message; undoubtedly benefiting the countless local businesses in those trade areas. One such business owner stated publicly at this year’s OFA Short Course that they had experienced an 8 percent increase in business during the period their city had participated in America in Bloom. While this alone is impressive, it is exciting to consider that as AIB continues to expand, even more synergistic benefits will likely result.
There is an old adage that says: “If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always gotten.” This latest economic downturn has certainly caused us all to do some things differently than we had been doing them previously. We’re doing more with fewer people and in some cases, fewer resources. But as we move into the future, even more aggressive marketing will be needed to ensure that we are considered as necessities in our consumers’ lives and not mere luxuries. Now is exactly the time to make those strategic marketing investments both as individual firms and through industry-wide efforts.