Multipurpose census methodology to assess urban forest structure in Hong Kong

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Surveys of urban forests in the compact city environment of Hong Kong were initiated in 1985 and regularly updated thereafter. Roadside trees were evaluated first in a tree census and reported in this article followed by urban parks, public housing estates, and special habitats such as old stone walls or special specimens such as heritage trees. The survey method aimed at collecting comprehensive data to echo both tree conditions and tree-environmental interactions. Detailed information was gleaned, with the help of well-trained assistants, on tree sites, tree growing space, tree structure, and tree defects and disorders. A field record form was designed, pilot-tested, and refined to solicit responses to multiple choices or direct measurements to minimize subjectivity and errors in data recording and entry. The study also identified potential planting sites, registering suitability for tree growth, site characteristics, and dimensions. Data fields were designed to be quantitative or convertible to ordinal ranks to facilitate statistical analysis. Locations of trees and planting sites were marked on large-scale maps to permit spatial analysis. Besides statistical analysis, community ecology attributes and custom-designed indices were used to assess urban forest structure. The multipurpose method could be appropriately adjusted for use in other compact city areas. Copyright © 2008 International Society of Arboriculture.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)366-378
JournalArboriculture and Urban Forestry
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2008


Jim, C. Y. (2008). Multipurpose census methodology to assess urban forest structure in Hong Kong. Arboriculture & Urban Forestry, 34(6), 366-378. Retrieved from


  • Compact city
  • Forest structure
  • Heritage tree
  • Hong Kong
  • Planting plan
  • Species composition
  • Species diversity
  • Tree census


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