The mission of the Tree Research Education and Endowment Fund (TREE Fund) is to identify and fund projects and programs that advance knowledge in the field of arboriculture and urban forestry to benefit people, trees, and the environment.
The Tour des Trees is the signature public awareness and fundraising event that supports the mission of the TREE Fund.
The TREE Fund supports carefully chosen researchers around the world and awards up to four $3,000 scholarships to college students each year. In addition, the Tour’s outreach events help educate the public about the importance of good tree care and mobilize support for local tree programs.
The results of TREE Fund-supported research affect people’s lives and arborists’ techniques every day.
Understanding the benefits of trees
Quantifying the benefits of trees to the economy and the environment makes it easier for governments and businesses to determine how much of a return they’ll get on their tree care investment. Meaningful decisions are now being made about spending tax- and rate-payer dollars on preserving and enhancing the urban forest because TREE Fund-supported research has answered questions such as: how much do trees reduce air pollution and the urban heat island effect; how much value do they add to real estate; and what are the other societal benefits of landscape trees?
Improving public safety and electric service reliability
Accurately and effectively determining which trees have the greatest potential to cause property damage, electrical outages, or a wildfire requires a scientific approach and TREE Fund-supported research has helped to develop tools and methods to identify hazardous trees.
Stopping diseases and pests
The TREE Fund has provided grant money for projects aimed at controlling bark beetles, which have turned millions of acres of Western forests into fuel for out-of-control wildfires. Ways to minimize the damage caused by invasive ‘exotic’ pests such as the emerald ash borer and Asian longhorned beetle are also being studied.
Developing hardier, drought and disease-resistant species
Improving new tree selections for urban use has great economic importance for municipalities, which are continually struggling to extend the life and usefulness of their public tree population.
Improving methods for growing strong, healthy landscape trees
TREE Fund-sponsored projects on proper planting depth have revolutionized our understanding of how to plant trees that will flourish in the landscape.
Growing trees in close association with streets and other paved areas is a huge challenge. Researchers partially funded by the TREE Fund have made great strides in developing soil mixtures and paving technology that allow trees to grow healthy root systems.
Dramatically reducing pesticide use through Plant Health Care (PHC) programs
Integrated pest management programs take advantage of the natural characteristics of trees and their environments to reduce the use of chemical and mechanical interventions. A TREE Fund-supported study addressing the lack of understanding of consumer preferences, beliefs, and attitudes has enabled tree care companies to dramatically change their practices and has greatly reduced pesticide use in the industry (by 90 – 95% at some companies).
Driving the research agenda
The TREE Fund’s Research Summit regularly brings together leaders in the field to help determine the most important directions for new research to take. For more information visit www.treefund.org.