Why Tree Surveys and Inventories are Important

Tree surveyTrees are an essential part of the human world as they provide us food and shelter, clean our environment and calm our restless spirits. Many municipalities have not embraced the benefits of trees into their economic sphere, which hurts cities from receiving grant monies and federal or state funds, which would better the community.

Tree inventories are one way of keeping track of the benefits trees give back to the earth, along with records to aid in the maintenance, upkeep and diversity of the monitored forest. Urban forest inventories provide a unique advantage to foresters, as many of the trees are within an area where many people live. Information is easier to obtain when more people are involved. Armed with information such as; reduction of air pollution, carbon storage, energy savings, functionality, and monitory worth, urban foresters could influence unaware politicians to the monitory worth of trees. When trees (or anything) become worth money, more people pay attention to them.

People do care about trees in one way or another, some care for their beauty and values; others are only concerned if they will fall on their home. The information gathered during an inventory could make homeowners’ properties more valuable and species data could warn homeowners of potential failure due to a pest or disease. Whatever the reason, it would be to a municipalities benefit to conduct tree inventories to satisfy both sides and to improve the urban forest.

Although there are many ways to conduct an inventory (partial, complete or sample), within a municipal forest, a complete inventory should be a goal. To achieve the goal of a full inventory, a city must try to involve the people living within the community in conducting it. Nonprofessionals can also utilize the inventory tools currently used by professional, urban foresters.

Handheld GIS (Geographic Information Systems), smartphones and android apps have made tree identification, location and inventory easier for all involved; and all are inexpensive. Combining these tools with community outreach programs to inform the public about the benefits of trees can gain funds useful to all the citizens in the area.

In the past, many citizens have voted for tax monies to be invested into forest preserves, reforestation of local parks and right of ways. Another possible process to produce a complete inventory (though it is a slow one) would be to add a tree survey requirement along with the land survey done when a property is selling. Opposed to enacting a tax, funding could possibly be raised from grants to offset the cost.

© The Naturarian

9 thoughts on “Why Tree Surveys and Inventories are Important”

    1. I like working on these. I’m outside, walking among the trees… it doesn’t get much better than that 😉

  1. Hi, I am assuming that you have been working on Tree Inventory projects.
    Would you like to shed some light on the costs involved in such projects?
    I am wondering financial viability of such projects in developing countries, where the forest cover is rapidly depleting and hence such projects are a dire necessity.

    1. Thank you for your comments 😊
      I produce tree inventories on a small scale. Lots from 1 – 5 acres. Which for ease sake, will cost $500 an acre. Mine are not exact. An engineered plan would be exact, but cost you $3500.
      I went to your blog and figured out you need something done on a very large scale. To give the trees worth / energy savers? If yes,
      I would look to a program called itree.
      Some of our cities here have been mapped like Melbourne. You don’t need highly trained employees to gather this info, but you do need many people to do it.
      Costs? Sorry, I really couldn’t guess.
      If you have more specific questions, don’t hesitate to ask.

  2. This is amazing concept. Thanks for sharing!

    Would like to read more from you on this topic (I am assuming this is your field of expertise). Like, how the countries/states using such databases – like the Melbourne map or maybe even a bit less sophisticated than that – are funding these projects and how they are utilising the databases.

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