11 January 2022

At Hi-Line, we are very proud to have been closely involved with the Torbay i-Tree Eco project in both 2010 and now again in 2021.  As a company that undertakes work to prune and sometimes remove trees where necessary, projects such as these remind us that trees benefit our everyday lives in a wide variety of ways.  We all have a role to play in the stewardship of trees in the area in which we live, and the i-Tree Eco project highlights this in a very effective way.  Trees silently go about the business of improving the air we breathe by absorbing particulate pollutants and other potentially harmful compounds, providing a sense of character and place, habitats for wildlife, and many other less tangible benefits.  Highlighting this in a meaningful, scientific way is of increasing importance in the modern day, as urban spaces become increasingly pressured.  This is where i-Tree comes in.

Since 2010, the i-Tree Eco software model has become more refined, with increased accuracy for the calculation of urban forests outside of the United States.  So it will be interesting to see what it is able to reveal about Torbay, ten years on from the original survey.

250 randomly allocated plots were set out in 2010 and have been utilised again in 2021.  In 2010, Hi-Line’s consultancy team completed the survey work.  2021 has seen the addition of volunteers to complete the inventory.  This enables the first ‘change over time’ i-Tree Eco project in the UK to be completed, with a direct comparison of a number of variables. Considerable detail is recorded on the attributes of the trees which fall within the i-Tree plots, including stem diameter, tree height, crown dimensions and, crucially, tree condition.  Data on ground cover and shrubs is also collected, and this is necessary to enable the calculation of how rainfall runoff is influenced by vegetation. Comparison of these two datasets will enable Treeconomics and Forest Research to establish how these attributes have changed over a decade.  It will also help us understand how Torbay’s urban forest is performing and how it is contributing to the wellbeing of local residents.

For further information on the Torbay i-Tree project, visit: https://www.treeconomics.co.uk/projects/revisiting-torbays-urban-forest