Documenting 15 years of TREE Fund research impact

TREE Fund’s charitable mission is to support scientific discovery and dissemination of new knowledge in the fields of arboriculture and urban forestry. TREE Fund’s work is made possible through partnership with thousands of individuals and organizations that share the belief that research is fundamental when it comes to sustaining and enhancing urban canopies, making them safer for the skilled professionals who care for them, and healthier for the communities that reap their benefits.

Toward this end, TREE Fund has awarded just under $4.0 million in grants and scholarships since its establishment in 2002; for perspective on the scale of this investment, consider that the ISA Research Trust distributed $460,000 in the 15 years prior to its merger with the National Arborist Foundation that created TREE Fund.

One of the most frequent questions TREE Fund management hears is “So what did all that money buy?” It’s a tough one to answer, since tree research can be slow, findings can be incremental, and outcomes and findings are often disseminated in ways and places outside of TREE Fund’s purview. To help better answer this important and valid inquiry, TREE Fund’s Board of Trustees issued a competitive request for proposals in 2017 under its Directed Grants Program to complete a comprehensive evaluation of impacts, outputs, outcomes and returns on investment from all of its research grants since 2003. The grant was awarded to Dr. Andrew Koeser (University of Florida, Gulf Coast Research and Education Center) and Dr. Richard Hauer (University of Wisconsin, Stevens Point), and presented to TREE Fund’s Trustees, who accepted its findings in late 2018.

In summary, Dr. Koeser and Dr. Hauer concluded that TREE Fund sponsored research has been instrumental in the evolution of tree care industry standards and practices.

Interested parties can read the complete report – “A 2018 Assessment of TREE Fund’s Research Grant Program: Research Outputs, Outcomes & Impacts” – on the TREE Fund website and join a webinar on May 29, 2019.