Richard W. Harper
Extension Associate Professor
Office: 320 Agricultural Engineering
Phone: +1 (413) 545-3747
As a first-generation college graduate, I understand the challenges associated with socio-economic barriers. Here at UMass, I am committed to increasing, retaining, and supporting the success of students who have been historically underrepresented in higher education. I am also wholeheartedly dedicated to doing my part to create a campus environment that applauds shared values like kindness and understanding, while celebrating difference and diversity among individuals. I am excited to be part of a community that strives to foster dignity and respect for all.
As Extension faculty, my position involves initiating & expanding a broad-based integrated research & extension program in support of the management of municipal forests & urban landscapes. I administer the award-winning ‘Urban Forestry Today‘ monthly webcasts, designed to meet real-time educational needs of practitioners & I closely align outreach-programming efforts with cooperating associations & agencies. In addition to publishing in the scientific literature, I also contribute to professional journals (Arborist News, TCI) & newsletters (ISA New England Chapter Newsletter; MA DCR Citizen Forester) read widely by practitioners & tree enthusiasts alike.
Current Integrated Research-Extension Projects
- Human Ecology & Urban Forest Management
- Community Woodbanks & Urban Wood Utilization
- American Elm Restoration & the Urban Forest
- Understanding Oak spp. in the Urban Landscape
- International Society of Arboriculture – New England Chapter (Past-President)
- ReGreen Springfield (Board of Directors)
- USDA Forest Service – Urban Forest Strike Team (Advisory Board)
- Massachusetts Tree Wardens and Foresters Association (Board of Directors)
- NRC 310 Community Forestry
- NRC 382 Human Dimensions of Natural Resources
Refereed Journal Publications (Selected, from 30+)
Coleman, A.F., R.W. Harper, T.S. Eisenman, S.H. Warner, and M.A. Wilkinson. 2022. The multidimensional nature of urban street trees: A review of scholarly research. Forests 13 (11): 1779.
Elton, A.J., R.W. Harper, L.F. Bullard, E. Griffith and B.S. Weil. 2022. Volunteer engagement in urban forestry in the United States: A review of the literature. Arboricultural Journal 44(1): 1-23.
Bocsi, T., R.W. Harper, P.S. Warren, and S. DeStefano. 2021. Exploring the ecology of establishing oak trees in urban settings of the Northeast. Cities and the Environment (CATE) 14(1): 1-20.
Eisenman, T.S., T. Flanders, R.W. Harper, R.J. Hauer and K. Lieberknecht. 2021. Traits of a bloom: A nationwide survey of U.S. urban tree planting initiatives (TPIs). Urban Forestry & Urban Greening 61: 1-15.
Harper, R.W., E.S. Huff, D.V. Bloniarz, S. DeStefano, C.R. Nicolson and M. Davidsohn. 2020. Employing qualitative research interviews to understand urban forestry stakeholder continuing education needs. Arboricultural Journal 42: 1-11.
Harper, R.W., E.S. Huff, D.V. Bloniarz, S. DeStefano and C.R. Nicolson. 2018. Exploring the characteristics of successful volunteer-led urban forest tree committees in Massachusetts. Urban Forestry & Urban Greening 34: 311-317.
Harper, R.W., D.V. Bloniarz, S. DeStefano, C.R. Nicolson. 2017. Urban forest management in New England: Towards a contemporary understanding of tree wardens in Massachusetts communities. Arboricultural Journal 41(3): 1-19.
Scharenbroch, B.C., D. Carter, M. Bialecki, R. Fahey, L. Scheberl, M. Catania, L.A. Roman, N.L. Bassuk, R.W. Harper, L. Werner, A. Siewert, S. Miller, L. Hutyra and S. Raciti. 2017. A rapid urban site index for assessing the quality of street tree planting sites. Urban Forestry & Urban Greening 27: 279-286.
Yin, J., R.W. Harper and N.L. Bassuk. 2017. Effects of Tree Production Method and Transplanting on Root Hydraulic Conductance. Journal of Environmental Horticulture 35(2): 79-83.
Allen, K.S., R.W. Harper, A. Bayer and N.J. Brazee. 2017. Nursery production systems and their impact on urban tree survival. Urban Forestry & Urban Greening 21(1): 183-191.
Harper, R.W. and P.A. Weston. 2016. Potential of alternative Tsuga spp. as landscape replacements for T. canadensis: Longer-term evaluation and propagation of T. chinensis. Arboriculture & Urban Forestry 42(5): 346-354.
Harper, R.W., W.R. Autio, J.T. Finn and F.S. Rossi. 2016. Tree Wardens and public grounds management in North America: Overseeding athletic fields with perennial ryegrass to promote safe playing surface. Arboricultural Journal 40(3): 1-13.
Markarian, G., R.W. Harper and D.V. Bloniarz. 2016. Flexible, open-source programmes and estimating projections of urban tree benefits: A case study in Amherst, MA. Arboricultural Journal 38(1): 1-13.
Green, B.L., R.W. Harper and D.A. Lass. 2015. Differing nursery production systems impact cost of planting oak species in the urban environment. HortTechnology 25(5): 651-656.
Clapp, J.C., H. D.P.Ryan III, R.W. Harper and D.V. Bloniarz. 2014. Rationale for the increased use of conifers as functional green infrastructure. Arboricultural Journal 36(3): 161-178.
Outreach Publications (Selected, from 100+)
Silveira, E. and R.W. Harper. 2022. Understanding autumn leaf color change in trees. Arborist News 31(5): 32-35. (October)
Harper, R.W., K. Bezanson, and D.V. Bloniarz. 2021. Student-led urban tree inventories in Massachusetts: Strengthening our understanding, one tree at a time. Arborist News 30(4): 34-37. (August)
C. W. Morrin and R.W. Harper. 2020. Trees & the law: Reviewing the basics. Arborist News 29(6): 30-33. (December)
Harper, R.W., N.J. Brazee, C.A. Copeland and T.M. McElhinney. 2020. Researchers & students collaborate to restore Ulmus americana in the Northeast. Arborist News 29(1): 28-30. (February)
Harper, R.W., E.S. Huff, D.V. Bloniarz, S. DeStefano and C.R Nicolson. 2019. Exploring volunteer urban tree committees in Massachusetts. Arborist News 28(4): 28-32. (August)(October – Part II)
Harper, R.W., D.V. Bloniarz, S. DeStefano and C.R Nicolson. 2019. Tree wardens and urban forestry in Massachusetts. Arborist News 28(3): 30-35. (June)
Harper, R.W., K.S. Allen and A.L. Bayer. 2018. Nursery production systems and their impact on urban tree growth and development. Arborist News 27(4): 12-19. (August)(October – Part II)
Harper, R.W. and D.V. Bloniarz. 2018. Regreening Springfield, MA – and communities nationwide – one tree at a time. Arborist News 27(1): 22-25. (February)
McElhinney, A.M., R.W. Harper and D.A. Lass 2017. Understanding the true costs of planting and growing urban trees. Arborist News 26(6): 22-28. (December)
Harper, R.W. and D.V. Bloniarz. 2017. Income, equity and the urban forest: Strengthening student understanding in Springfield, MA. Arborist News 26(3): 26-28. (June)
Clapp, J.C. and R.W. Harper. 2015. The value and function of evergreen conifers as urban green infrastructure. Arborist News 24(2): 42-45. (April)
Harper R.W. and J.L. Gangloff-Kaufmann. 2014. Arborists and stinging insects in the urban landscape. Arborist News 23(4): 44-47. (August)(October – Part II)
Bradley, B.A. and R.W. Harper. 2014. Can community forests keep pace with a changing climate? Arborist News 23(3): 44-47. (June)
Harper, R.W. 2013. Urban forestry on the frontier. City Trees: The Journal of the Society of Municipal Arborists 49(5):10-14.
Harper, R.W. 2022. Review of The Age of Wood: Our Most Useful Material and the Construction of Civilization, by R. Ennos. Urban Forestry & Urban Greening 68: 127469.
Harper, R.W. 2021. Review of The Tree Book: Superior Selections for Landscapes, Streetscapes, and Gardens, by M.A. Dirr & K.S. Warren. Urban Forestry & Urban Greening 62: 127162.
Harper, R.W. 2020. Review of Witness Tree, by L.V. Mapes. Urban Forestry & Urban Greening 55: 126787.
Harper, R.W. 2019. Review of A history of urban forests, by J. Jonnes. Journal of Forestry 117(3): 313-314.
Harper, R.W. 2018. Review of Hemlock: A forest giant on the edge, by D. R. Foster. Journal of Forestry 116(1): 88-89.
Harper, R.W. 2017. Review of The illustrated encyclopedia of trees (2nd ed), by D. Moore and J.W. White. Arboriculture & Urban Forestry 42(3): 83-85.
Harper, R.W. 2016. Review of Features from the past for the future, Branching Out: An integrated pest management newsletter for trees and shrubs, by D.D. O’Brien and G.W. Hudler. Arboriculture & Urban Forestry 42(3): 213-214.
Harper, R.W. 2015. Review of The abc’s field guide to young and small tree pruning by A.G. Pleninger and C.J. Luley. Arboriculture & Urban Forestry 41(1): 49-50.
Harper, R.W. 2014. Review of Wasp and bee management: a common-sense approach, by J.L. Gangloff-Kaufmann. Arboriculture & Urban Forestry 40(1): 46-47.