DRG completed an i-Tree Eco inventory of 1,600 plots throughout Chicago and surrounding counties for Morton Arboretum in 2020. This inventory project offers an unparalleled look into the state of the regional urban forest.
In the summer of 2020, DRG conducted the largest i-Tree Eco plot-based re-inventory of its kind. 1400 randomly selected plots in the seven-county region from 2010 and 200 more plots within the City of Chicago from a study in 2007 were re-visited by five teams consisting of a DRG Inventory Arborist and a Student Conservation Association (SCA) Intern.
Each team, using GPS coordinates and reference objects collected from 2010 would relocate the plot center and update plot and tree information. Trees were matched up from the 2010 Tree Census using distance and direction collected in 2010. The data collected included land-use type, % tree canopy cover, % shrub cover, and tree measurements (species, dbh, height, and canopy measurements). A written report of the data findings and methodology along with the data collected were among the deliverables provided to the Morton Arboretum upon completion of the project.
Since the first Tree Census in 2010, the regional urban forest has been impacted by invasive pests (e.g. emerald ash borer), development patterns, and changing climates. The 2020 update will allow the Arboretum to better understand regional urban forestry trends and dynamics, focus programs and initiatives, conduct outreach, inform cutting edge research, and continue to focus the activities and partnership within the Chicago Region Trees Initiative.