iTree Systems Get Smart in Urban Forestry

Citygreen - iTree Systems Get Smart in Urban Forestry

iTree Systems Get Smart in Urban Forestry:

Think back to a time that you forgot to water one of your houseplants. Now think about the time and energy it takes to remember and organize the maintenance of an entire community’s forest, that is, every tree. Since the USDA Forest Service introduced this suite of technology in 2006, iTree has been making it possible for communities and their supporting infrastructure to get smart with their urban landscaping efforts, and make the most of their valuable resources, the trees.

“Whether it be a residential home with a single tree or a larger area, such as a neighborhood, city or county, with a large population of trees…” the suite of technologies offered by iTree help build accuracy in inventory of trees, as well as an analysis and benefits over the course of the tree’s lifetimes. This accurate snapshot of the urban canopy not only gives the information needed to know how best to maintain the forestry, but it also helps quantify the value in investing into the quality of a community’s urban forestry, both in dollars and scientifically. One of the best parts, is this technology is available to download for free.

“When an i-Tree project is completed, reports are provided to inform users how neighborhood trees contribute to carbon sequestration, building energy savings (through shading and/or blocking wind), air quality improvements, and stormwater interception, “ as stated on the USDA webpage.

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has been successful in implementing the iTree software for nineteen communities thus far.Tracy Salisbury, urban forestry coordinator for the Natural Resources Department in the northeast region said, “Our goal was to use i-Tree to create fact sheets so that decision-makers — mayors and city councilors — can see the value of their trees…We want to show them the value in a new light.”

As the program further develops, partnerships have been made with the Forest Service, Davey Tree Expert Company, National Arbor Day Foundation, Society of Municipal Arborists, International Society of Arboriculture, and Casey Trees to provide technical support.

Including iTree Hydro, which is still in the beta stage, iTree system boasts a total of six applications also including i-Tree Eco, i-Tree Streets, i-Tree Vue, i-Tree Canopy and i-Tree Design.

Community Stewardship of Urban Forest Futures

Citygreen - Community Stewardship of Urban Forest Futures

Community Stewardship of Urban Forest Futures:

Much focus is given to new city-scale projects to enhance and develop urban forestry, and utilize the most cutting edge designs in green infrastructure. Though the benefits reaped by the inhabitants and community members are often noted, there is a large opportunity to support what infrastructure has begun, and this opportunity starts at the individual level.

What needs to be developed just as much as the re-designing of past urban forestry projects is the sense of stewardship and personal ownership of the local forestry and environment we each inhabit.
Lindsay K Campbell, a research social scientist with the USDA Forest Service, recently stated in a personal blog, “How can we cultivate attachment and stewardship but also allow attachment to inform management, decision-making, and priority-setting? What would it look like to grow a forest that is rooted in these community relations all along the way?”

With this personal ownership, comes the challenge of finding ways to expand on what is presently placed into two categories: sparse individual experiences, like caring for the forestry outside an individual’s apartment, and far-reaching, but finite community volunteer events, usually lasting a day or weekend at most.

What happens after those trees or gardens are planted?

A beginning solution is the creation, participation, and effective momentum of local “greening communities”, as put by the Arbor Day Foundation.

Tree City USA is a framework created and monitored by the Arbor Day Foundation, which has created a framework for action from which communities can establish community forestry management.In order to achieve and maintain active status, these cities must be, “maintaining a tree board or department, having a community tree ordinance, spending at least $2 per capita on urban forestry and celebrating Arbor Day.”

The result as of 2015 is over 3,400 communities, and 135 million Americans living in these stewarded areas. With effective framework, education, and a sense of pride and ownership, successful urban landscapes are looking forward to a green, well cared for future in conjunction with the advancement in design and infrastructure provided by the governing and civic bodies.

Being a Tree City USA

Being a Tree City USA

 

The Tree City USA national program continues to grow, with more cities joining the effort to become a green community.

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