Urban forestry as a concept is nothing new, but the last several decades have seen a change in its approach. Namely, more and more people are recognizing its potential, as well as what having urban forestry in cities can mean for the development of a town, a state, and a country. As one academic source states, the benefits of urban forestry include the contribution to the “physiological, sociological, and economic well-being of urban populations” (Choi, 2010, 39). Even more specifically, some have considered the way in which urban forestry can be situated within international development as a whole, and how the concept can aid the sustainability of the development of previously undeveloped nations.
For instance, a report from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) published in the 1990s recognizes that the world's population is increasingly located in cities. This means that these large groups of people must consider how their needs can be met "while maintaining or improving the urban environment" (FAO, 1994, 3).
In other words, urban forestry in the case of developing countries is not just a matter of aesthetic or even health. It is an integral part of the social and economic aspects of urban development. For this reason, this paper proposes a focused literature review on the topic of applying the benefits of urban forestry to developing nations. Besides the FAO report more than twenty years ago, this is a topic that has largely gone ignored and deserves more attention. This literature review will include three parts: first, an overview of urban forestry as a whole, followed by a discussion of sustainability in international development, and finally a detailed look at how urban forestry has been applies to international development so far, and what potential it has in the future.
Overall, the goal of this literature review is not only to provide an overview on the research so far, but to reignite the topic and tie urban forestry directly to development.