Progress and Methodological Approaches in Urban Trees and Forests Research in Africa

Dangulla Murtala, Latifah Abd Manaf


The numerous benefits of urban trees and forests are being increasingly recognised globally but grossly under studied in the developing world. This paper reviewed the methodological approaches to urban trees and forests assessments in Africa in relation to the growing number of publications in the field between 2012 and 2017. It adopted a comprehensive search of online publications related to urban trees and forests in the Google Scholar, Springer, Science Direct, Scopus, IEEE, Tailor and Francis and African Journals databases. Number of publications increased steadily from 2 in 2012 to a cumulative total of 44 in 2017, most of which were however, from South Africa, Nigeria and Ghana with little contributions from Kenya and Rwanda. Although remote sensing may facilitate detailed studies of urban trees, most researchers used the traditional and time-consuming field surveys and to some extent, interview and questionnaire surveys. African cities are highly diverse in both native and exotic tree species but the exotic species dominate in many areas. Urban trees in Africa provide both tangible and intangible benefits which include provision of income, fruits, medicines, fuelwood and recreation opportunities. Others are micro-climate modification, erosion and desertification control, pollutants removal, spirituality and aesthetics. Advances in urban tree assessments such as the use of i-Tree Eco and i-Tree Streets, high resolution remote sensing images and LiDAR should be explored. Governmental and private organizations need to be more committed to urban trees research and management through enhanced funding.

Keywords: Africa; Urbanization; Urban Trees; Urban Forests; Diversity; Remote Sensing

DOI: 10.7176/JEES/9-9-05

Publication date:September 30th 2019

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ISSN (Paper)2224-3216 ISSN (Online)2225-0948

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