Urban trees provide myriad benefits for communities including shade, stormwater uptake, improved air quality, and habitat for birds, pollinators and other wildlife while also improving real estate values. But urban trees need to be monitored to make sure they are healthy and not at risk of failure. A new tool will help cities accurately track and inventory their street and park trees. The Accessible Urban Tree Inventory (AUTI) project brings a modern, mobile, map-oriented inventory system to communities for little or no out-of-pocket cost. The pilot project was funded in part by the USDA Forest Service's National Urban and Community Forestry Challenge Cost Share Program, as recommended by the National Urban and Community Forestry Advisory Council (NUCFAC).
The grant allows states to participate at a greatly reduced cost. “The system lets people use mobile devices to collect data for their communities that can then be combined into a state-wide system for wider analysis and decision making,” said system developer Tig Tillinghast of Forest Metrix. Costs of mobile tree inventory programs are often beyond the budget of smaller communities, yet these systems are needed to access timely data about the condition of the urban forest.
The AUTI system also complements i-Tree - a common software for tracking tree benefits -by providing a modern, mobile method of entering in tree data in the field. A spreadsheet file export can be created so that i-Tree can be employed for analysis.
States opting to help pilot the program will benefit by gaining additional software licenses. The Green Infrastructure Center (GIC) will assist the project with outreach. GIC’s Director Karen Firehock noted that “Trainings and webinars will be available throughout the next year to teach communities to use the software to plan for a healthy urban forest.”
The project is administered by Dovetail Partners, a non-profit organization based in Minneapolis experienced in urban forest projects. More information about the project and how to participate is included in the project’s Frequently Asked Questions document, available here.
Contact for more Information: Tig Tillinghast firstname.lastname@example.org (802) 785-4260
This project was funded in part by the USDA Forest Service's National Urban and Community Forestry Challenge Cost Share Program, as recommended by the National Urban and Community Forestry Advisory Council.
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