Extension Associate Professor
Office: 315 Paige Lab
Phone: +1 (413) 545-3747
As a first-generation college graduate, I understand the barriers associated with economic challenge. 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
- Urban Tree Committee Volunteers & Tree Wardens in New England
- Urban Wood Utilization Practices and Community Woodbanks
- American Elm Restoration and the Urban Forest
- Understanding Oak spp. in the Urban Landscape
- Coniferous Trees as Urban Plantings
- 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)
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 and 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 and Urban Greening 27: 279-286.
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.
Outreach Publications (Selected)
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.