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.

202020 Vision Launches National Plan to Reach its Goal

Citygreen - 202020 Vision Launches National Plan to Reach its Goal

202020 Vision Launches National Plan to Reach its Goal:

The 202020 Vision, an initiative of the Nursery & Garden Industry of Australia (NGIA), was named after its mission: “To create 20% more green space in our urban areas by 2020.”

Launched in 2013, the initiative has worked tirelessly to collate the knowledge of, “500 greening experts from across business, government, academia and the community sector consulted during the initiative’s Growing The Seeds tour into a document that showcases proven, scalable and replicable solutions to greening the urban landscape.” This document was officially launched last month as The 202020 Plan.

Dr Anthony Kachenko, Research and Development Team Leader and Portfolio Manager at Horticulture Innovation Australia said, “The 202020 Plan shows if you get industry and government leaders together to share their collective wisdom they can create simple, impactful pathways to reversing the urban greening crisis – it truly is collaborative impact at its best. Through the plan we now have the start of a compendium of urban greening strategies that is a must-read for every business, level of government and community group in Australia that is playing a role to see our cities become healthy, productive, thriving places that can mitigate the effects of climate change.”

The City of Melbourne’s Urban Forest Strategy is one of the initiative’s most successful projects, and will see the council increase canopy cover from 22 per cent to 40 per cent by 2040. Next on the agenda is a “White Label Urban Forest Strategy” for other local governments, providing a template enabling them to replicate The City of Melbourne’s success.

Collectively, governments, business, and planners are beginning to understand the need to green urban environments. The 202020 Vision, “Australia’s biggest network of green space experts, creators and supporters…is uniquely placed to pioneer a more efficient approach.”

The 202020 Plan is available for download here.

Winter Park, Florida Goes Out on a Limb

Citygreen - Winter Park, Florida Goes Out on a Limb

Winter Park, Florida Goes Out on a Limb:

As with every July, another essential collection of 50-50 matching grants have been issued by the Director of the Florida Forest Service, and the recipients are already endeavoring on essential and compelling projects and initiatives… “to develop or enhance their urban and community forestry programs.”

The City of Winter Park’s Urban Forestry Division was awarded a $20,000 grant, with the city matching those funds.

These essential funds mark the beginning of the third phase of a project to phase out dead or sickly trees with new ones. It is expected that the project’s completion in the Orange County suburb will span across several years.

“The grant was presented to Winter Park for its partial rights of way tree inventory, and this partial inventory will assist the city in managing rights of way maintenance cycles,” as stated in a recent article in the Orlando Centennial.

The Urban Forestry Management Plan confirms, “In 2005, the city hired ArborPro, Inc., a full service urban forestry and software consulting company to perform an inventory of right of way (ROW) trees.” This proactive decision was in part to a devastating hurricane season in 2004, and the canopy is still recovering ten years later. In 2012, a risk assessment study was performed by ArborPro, Inc. on several hundred of those trees.

Fortunately, Winter Park’s Urban Forestry Division seems to be up to the task, and make available for public knowledge their plans and resources on their main webpage. Resources include a robust list of trees ideal for not only creating diversity in the urban canopy, but also the ideal placement of the tree species, such as along streets and sidewalks.

“The city’s urban forest consists of over 75,000 trees on private and public property and there are over 25,000 trees in city rights of way…” and an estimated third of that population will require removal in the next several years. Moving forward, an emphasis will be put on creating more diversity in the tree species, as the tree populace is imbalanced by a majority of mature trees on a decline, making them more susceptible to hurricane damage, disease, and drought.

Though each local community and environment is unique, Winter Park has found the steps towards an attentive, responsible, successful program, and deciding to do so creates a successful future that any urban forest could enjoy.

photo credit . Winter Park, FL – Ebyabe

Independent groups take action in light of Auckland’s urban forest crisis

Citygreen - Independent groups take action in light of Auckland’s urban forest crisis

Independent groups take action in light of Auckland’s urban forest crisis:

A recent study has found that Auckland has just 6 per cent of its urban forest left, with over half situated on private land. Only 15 per cent is protected by Auckland Council’s ‘Schedule of Notable Trees’, which is the only remaining tool for tree protection since changes to the Resource Management Act in 2012. Study Co-Author, Dr Margaret Stanley, of the University of Auckland, said the city’s urban forest is in, “…a really urgent state of play.”

The benefits of urban forests are clear, with Auckland lagging behind the rest of the world in protecting them. “The study shows the schedule is failing to adequately protect unique native tree species and we need to do much better if we are to protect what is left of the city’s urban forest,” Dr Stanley said.

Charmaine Wiapo overseas a Ngati Whatua-led project to return an area of land at Bastion Point back to native bush. She says Auckland’s urban forest has become, “very fragmented.” In response, 200,000 trees have been planted to link up to tree corridors elsewhere in the city, providing food stock for native birds that fly between them.

Forest and Bird is another group taking action in the face of the crisis. As, “New Zealand’s largest independent conservation organisation that works to preserve natural heritage and native species,” the group is working on a wildlife network to connect urban habitats in the Waitakere and Hunua Ranges and Hauraki Gulf Islands. The group is also aiming to have trees with ecological value added to the proposed Auckland Unitary Plan.

Deputy Mayor, Penny Hulse, agreed tree protection rules had taken, “…a bit of a hammering” over recent years. Thankfully, there a numerous independent groups stepping up to the plate – both to protect what remains and to create much-needed new urban forests.

photo credit . Albert Park, Auckland . Michael Zimmer

Ann Arbor Upholds “Tree Town” Nickname

Citygreen - Ann Arbor Tree Town

Ann Arbor Upholds “Tree Town” Nickname:

Most towns and cities have something to boast of, or be known by. The “blueberry capital”, the “garden state”, the “city of love” are all examples, and Ann Arbor’s Michigan is no different. Known as “Tree Town” by its residents, Ann Arbor is true to its nickname. The local community’s action plans and efforts in the local forestry is robust.

In the past year, the City Council adopted a new plan for managing the urban forestry. The plan, “provides policy direction and guidance to city staff on efforts to sustainably maintain and expand the city’s tree canopy. It includes 17 recommendations, including monitoring threats to tree health.”With just under 7,000 trees in parks and over 40,000 trees along city streets, an additional one million dollars was invested in the past year to compensate for backlogged tree maintenance. Other challenges, which are shared by other widespread areas across the United States include the emerald ash borer, which “led to the removal of thousands of ash trees. .”

On the positive side, the value of urban forestry proves itself by a landslide, and it’s estimated that, “Ann Arbor’s publicly managed trees provide more than $4.6 million in benefits to the community each year, including reducing stormwater runoff, saving energy, improving air and water quality, and beautifying the city.”

This 146 page document, the Urban and Community Forest Management Plan includes seventeen “specific recommendations,” including, “Recommendation #11: Enhance and develop programs that encourage active participation by volunteers in the development and promotion of a sustainable urban and community forest.” Actions and resources have thus far followed these intentions, and the City of Ann Arbor webpage cites resources including the 2016 Tree Planting Plan. The tree planting begins this fall of 2015 in November, and spring of 2016.

The clear development of plans, resources, education, and a sense of pride all create a success story for the future of Ann Arbor’s urban forestry. It stands that by following this model, and adjusting to each unique urban forest, other cities, towns, and communities could enhance their tree population’s health and longevity as well. Maybe all our cities could strive to be “Tree Towns.”

Retail Landscaping, The New Experience

Citygreen - Retail Landscaping, The New Experience

Retail Landscaping, The New Experience:

When thinking about creating a retail environment that stimulates shoppers’ spending habits and experiences, flashy branding and aesthetically pleasing displays make a lot of sense, but what if there was something a little less expected, and yet so much more naturally nurturing and powerful to the human experience?

In decades before today, city dwellers expelled themselves from the urban environment, seeking out the less congested neighborhoods of the suburbs, and all shopping needs being addressed by the enclosed, glass, metal, and stone of department stores and malls.

Coinciding with this sociological shift, research has been conducted since the 1970’s investigating the need and benefit of nature as part of the daily human experience. One of the overriding pieces of evidence shows that environments featuring greenery and natural elements are, “… consistently preferred over non-green urban settings, or environments dominated by artefacts,” (Joye, et al. 2010).

In keeping with those studied benefits, landscape infrastructure is no longer as simple as planting plants to give a more affluent, manicured aesthetic, but a tool to build better urban spaces, “from the layout of streets, sidewalks, plazas, and buildings to outdoor natural features and amenities that are iconic and in tune with cultural, social, and environmental uniqueness,” says Randall Shearin of Shopping Center Business.

Given the shift in the human experience’s needs, people have begun to seek out establishments and areas that aren’t just purely for retail, but also opportunities to have stimulation on a social and personal, internal level.

Appropriately, design firms and investors have responded by renovating existing traditional mall formats to open-air venues and town centers, like the City Creek Center in downtown Salt Lake City. Places like this give specific attention to the original environment they are built around, or in. In this case, large trees and a creek create a natural traffic pattern that allows the space to feel as though it was an original part of the landscape anyways, as if the town center itself grew as part of the landscape.

These open-air venues turn people who were primarily customers visiting specific businesses into community members who took ownership of the space. This seems like this rich, green, urban oasis could only be benefitting those patrons who visit the developments, but not so.

“Having a tenant in front of the main square is like having a retailer at center court in the mall; tenants want to be along those public spaces,” says Yaromir Steiner, CEO of Steiner + Associates, a leading developer of mixed-use environments. “The square attracts people. Kids can play in the fountain; adults can go to the farmer’s market or listen to concerts. It builds traffic.”

By visiting mixed-use environments that give, “experiences and places for shoppers to enhance — and increase — their visits,” says Shearin, they offer different venues to create a similar convenience of online shopping, a hard thing to compete with, until now. Simultaneously, environments are designed where people seek an experience that enhances and enriches their daily lives, local economy is stimulated and supported, and thereby creating a natural and mutually beneficial balance between the man-made, and nature’s best offerings.

(more…)

ArborGuy Plants the Seeds to Success for Urban Landscapes

Citygreen - ArborGuy Plants the Seeds to Success for Urban Landscapes

ArborGuy Plants the Seeds to Success for Urban Landscapes:

Trees are complicated beings. They have specific needs, and require conducive environments in order to flourish and grow. Citygreen® acknowledges this fact, and with their wide range of products, they are innovating the way trees are planted. One of these products includes the ArborGuy, a system that is hopefully replacing tree staking entirely in both urban and rural environments.

The ArborGuy is best suited for root ball trees, and eliminates damage to the root ball that can otherwise occur with typical tree staking practices. The kit includes strapped anchor systems with drive ins, heavy duty composite anchors, a webbing strap and rachet tensioner. In the event of underground utilities in the vicinity of the planting, a “deadman”guying system with 3 heavy timbers is included.

Citygreen - ArborGuy Plants the Seeds to Success for Urban Landscapes“Once installed, each one of the three Arborguy ground anchors can withstand up to 1340 kilos of upward force… If required, the system can be re­tensioned at a later date.”

Part of the strength of this system is the use of a subterranean triangular configuration, in comparison to a tree staking, which features 1­2 stakes driven into the ground, and ties which cut into the tree trunk over time. Because this system is entirely subterranean, the finished look is a healthy, secured tree growing from the earth, devoid of stakes and ties jutting up around each trunk.

“…Improper tree staking replaces a supportive trunk and root system with an artificial support that causes the tree to put its resources into growing taller but not growing wider.” The result is a smaller trunk susceptible to breakage or uprooting in storm conditions: an undesirable and avoidable expense.

With smarter planting, we can have smarter futures with less expense, and more healthy trees.

City of Melbourne Collaborates with Community Members on its Urban Forest Strategy

Citygreen - City of Melbourne Collaborates with Community Members on its Urban Forest Strategy

City of Melbourne Collaborates with Community Members on its Urban Forest Strategy:

“Participate Melbourne” was launched by the Melbourne City Council in 2013, as a means for members

of the community to understand and contribute to the decisions that shape Melbourne’s future. An

online, collaborative community, this initiative is the result of the council’s commitment to being a more

accessible, transparent, and responsive organization. Information is shared about the council’s decisions

and performance, with a particular focus on how the views of community members have influenced the

Key projects being shaped by Participate Melbourne include the Queen Victoria Market, 10 Year

Financial Plan, the Arts Strategy, and the Urban Forest Strategy.

 

According to its Urban Forest Strategy site, The City of Melbourne is, “facing three significant challenges:

climate change, urban heating, and population growth. These will place significant pressure on the built

fabric, services and people of the city. A healthy urban forest will play an important role in maintaining

Melbourne’s liveability.”

 

The Urban Forest Strategy provides a robust framework for the evolution and longevity of Melbourne’s

urban forest, with Participate Melbourne currently running a number of initiatives to inform how this

will look at an individual street level. Via Participate Melbourne, the council is working with community

members to develop tree planting plans for local areas.

 

Already in progress is the plan for a future urban forest in Parkville, with community members meeting

at a free breakfast to contribute and discuss ideas in March. Individuals can also share their ideas by

pinning them on an interactive map, and completing a photo questionnaire. Both tools, along with

regular updates, can be found on the Urban Forest Strategy site.

 

Next on the agenda for the 2015 program, two further free community breakfasts will take place:

 

To receive updates on urban forest projects and events in the City of Melbourne, individuals can email

urbanforest@melbourne.vic.gov.au.

 

Photo credit: Participate Melbourne

 

 

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