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a research center of the Office of the Vice Provost for Research at Indiana University Bloomington

Portfolio for Jessica M. Vogt

School / Program:
School of Public and Environmental Affairs
Major: Environmental Science
Minor: Ecology (Biology Department)

Research Areas:
Urban ecosystems, urban forestry, urban tree planting program evaluation, tree growth
Dissertation Title:
Urban tree planting, tree maintenance institutions, and the success of recently-planted trees

Dissertation Committee:
  • Dr. Burney Fischer (SPEA)
  • Dr. David Good (SPEA)
  • Dr. Keith Clay (Biology)
  • Dr. Laurel Cornell (Sociology)
  • Dr. Rich Hauer (Department of Forestry, College of Natural Resources, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point)

Current Dissertation Progress: 

The chapters of the portfolio that will serve as my dissertation are:

Chapter 1: Introduction: Urban forests as social-ecological systems
Chapter 2: The costs of not maintaining trees: A review of the urban forestry and arboriculture literature
Chapter 3: Urban tree survival and growth and the Planted Tree Re-Inventory Protocol 
Chapter 4: Planted tree growth and survival in urban neighborhoods as social-ecological systems
Chapter 5: Watering strategy, collective action, and neighborhood-planted trees: An Indianapolis case study
Chapter 6: The experience of tree planting in urban neighborhoods in Indianapolis, Indiana
Chapter 7: Street trees, streets, and tree maintenance in Bloomington, Indiana
Chapter 8: Conclusion: Urban forest management research and practice

I am currently working on manuscripts for Chapters 2, 3, and 4 and will be submitting these in Fall 2013 to journals for publication. Chapter 5 has already been submitted to a journal and is undergoing revisions. I am currently analyzing interview transcripts using QSR's NVivo software for Chapter 6. For Chapter 7, data collection has been complete and data analysis will begin in January 2014.

Expected Defense Date: December 2014

Dissertation Description: [in progress]

Urban forests are best understood as social-ecological systems (SESs) of linked human and natural components. Core components of the urban forest SES are: (1) the biophysical resource, or trees--frequently planted by humans--and their growing environment; (2) the community of people and the characteristics of these people; and (3) the institutions--in particular, tree maintenance strategies--that are used by people to manage trees in the urban forest. Of these core SES components, this dissertation focuses on institutions (i.e., the rules, norms, and strategies that structure human-environment interactions, a la Ostrom [2005]) and tree maintenance strategies (i.e., watering, pruning, mulching, etc.). Broadly, my dissertation asks: Which maintenance strategies work best and when for urban trees? 

In Chapters 2 and 3, I examine the urban forestry and related literature from two angles. A review of the literature on the costs of maintaining and not maintaining trees yields scant empirical evidence available to help researchers or practitioners determine optimal configurations of tree maintenance strategies. A review of the literature on the impact of the environment, community, and maintenance on tree survival and growth reveals little in the way of holistic research; many studies include only a limited suite of variables, frequently, in controlled nursery settings, and few examine tree survival and growth using an SES-like approach. In Chapters 4 and 5, I use data on recently-planted trees and neighborhoods in Indianapolis, IN, to examine the impact of the three SES components on tree success, and answer questions about watering and collective action at the neighborhood level. In Chapter 6, I use qualitative interview analysis to examine the experience of Indianapolis neighborhood leaders involved in tree-planting projects, focusing on maintenance activities and individuals' perceptions of tree-planting project success. In Chapter 7, I use data from Bloomington, IN, on street trees, street characteristics, and the maintenance practices of the City Urban Forester to answer questions about the impact of reported maintenance and growing environment on tree characteristics.

Recent Manuscript and Publications:

Epstein G, Vogt JM, Mincey SK, Cox M, Fischer BC (2013) Missing ecology: Integrating ecological perspectives with the social-ecological system framework. International Journal of the Commons, 7(2): 432-453.

Epstein G, Vogt JM, Cox M, Shimek L (In review)  Confronting problems of method in the study of sustainability.

Mincey SK, Hutten M, Fischer BC, Evans T, Stewart S, Vogt JM (2013) Structuring institutional analysis for urban ecosystems: A key to sustainable urban forest management. Urban Ecosystems, 16: 553-571. doi 10.1007/s11252-013-0286-3.

Mincey SK, Vogt JM (In review) Watering strategy, collective action, and neighborhood-planted trees: An Indianapolis case study. 

Sedlock JL, Jose R, Vogt JM, Paguntalan JML, Cariño A (In review) A survey of bats in a karst landscape in the central Phillippines. 

Vogt JM, Epstein G, Mincey SK, Fischer BC, McCord P (In review) Putting the “E” in SES: Unpacking the ecology in the Ostrom social-ecological systems framework.

Vogt JM, Hauer RJ, Fischer BC (In preparation) The costs of not maintaining trees: A review of the urban forestry and arboriculture literature. To be submitted to Arboriculture & Urban Forestry.

Recent Conference Proceedings:

Vogt JM, Hauer RJ, Fischer BC (2013) The costs of not maintaining trees: Results of a literature review. International Society of Arboriculture 2013 Annual International Conference and Trade Show, August 4-7, 2013, Toronto, Canada. (Oral Presentation)

Watkins SL, Mincey SK, Vogt JM, Bergmann R, Fischer BC (2013) A research design for evaluating the outcomes of neighborhood and nonprofit urban forestry. Workshop Colloquia presentation at The Vincent and Elinor Ostrom Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis, April 17, 2013, Bloomington, IN. (Presentation and Working Paper.)

Vogt JM, Watkins SL (2013) Modeling urban tree growth and survival as social-ecological systems. Association of SPEA PhD Students Conference, March 29, 2013, Bloomington, IN. (Oral Presentation and Conference Paper)

Vogt JM (2013) Planted tree re-inventory protocol. Indiana Urban Forest Council Meeting, February 12, 2013, Bloomington, IN. (Invited Speaker)

Vogt, J.M., S.K. Mincey, & B.C. Fischer. 2011. Establishment & Growth of Community-Planted Street Trees in Indianapolis, IN: Presentation of a Data Collection Methodology and Preliminary Results. Urban Tree Growth: An International Meeting & Research Symposium.

Mincey, S.K., R.M. Krause, & J.M. Vogt (2010, Nov). Tying Local Policy, Management, and Institutional Arrangements to Environmental Outcomes: The Role of Urban Forests in Municipal Sustainability Initiatives. Association for the Advancement of Public Policy and Management 2010 Conference. Boston, Massachusetts. Awarded 2nd place in APPAM poster session.

Vogt, J.M. & B.C. Fischer. (2010, July). Tree City USA: A Potential Catalyst for Broader Sustainable Community Initiatives? International Academy of Arboriculture 2010 Conference & Trade Show, July 24-27, 2010, Navy Pier Convention Center, Chicago, IL.  

Curriculum Vitae

Jess Vogt