Trees are a critical part of the environment. Making sure healthy trees are part of our environment can benefit your community by conserving water, producing oxygen, reducing carbon dioxide, and more. But reaping the benefits to the highest degree requires more nuance than simply planting a tree. This is where tree inventories can help.
Tree inventories define the current state of an urban forestry program. Inventories also provide critical data to help prioritize maintenance, create a proactive maintenance schedule, mitigate threats, and determine the best options for tree planting. Armed with this information, it becomes easier to develop a budget and communicate resource needs to stakeholders.
Using Your Data
One of the biggest benefits of having a tree inventory is its planning power. Once an inventory is conducted, the data can be analyzed to show trends over time in species and size distribution, condition, and more, to help transform work prioritization, budget initiatives, and future strategies. It can shed light on a program’s value by providing tangible figures which strengthen budget proposals, serve as a tool for outreach for the public, and provide vital information to internal personnel.
But there are also several other benefits of inventory data:
- Diversity—Inventory data allows you to see your urban forest’s current species and size diversity and work proactively towards improving it. A diverse tree population can help mitigate invasive species, pest invasion, or disease. If there is a high concentration of one certain tree species, there is a higher chance of losing a large part of your urban forest if different pests and diseases appear.
- Grants—An inventory can be a differentiator to apply for more advanced grants that fund projects like urban forest master plans. A start-up grant may seek recipients who want an inventory but don’t have one yet.
- Maintenance—An urban forester is able to create a pruning schedule that is more cost-effective and creates a safer environment by identifying high-risk trees.
Mapping It Out
A GIS-based system is the best way to keep inventory data updated. Programs like TreeKeeper, an inventory management software from DRG, can be updated from any place with an internet-connected device. With GIS-based software, inventories can be updated in real-time.