Urban Forest Asset Valuations are a way to gather structural data on your tree population, without the need for an existing inventory. They reveal the structure of your urban forest and the ecosystem services your trees are providing. Having this evidence base can help you to advocate for the importance of your trees and for the funding required to protect and maintain them. An Urban Forest Asset Valuation is both a field-based and desk-based exercise, and typically takes place during spring and summer, when trees are in leaf.
The first stage is to randomly select sample plots across the area in question, using GIS. We then physically survey each plot for tree cover, land use, and more. Once the data has been collected, it is then extrapolated and processed using the i-Tree program to give a broad yet robust picture of the entirety of your urban forest.
Capturing the extent, health and structure of your trees can be a step towards managing and enhancing your urban forest for the future. One of the key benefits of an Urban Forest Asset Valuation is that it provides insight into the whole tree population, regardless of ownership. This can help with species selection and planting decisions. It can also give an understanding of tree cover across different land uses, identifying areas which may benefit from targeted tree planting.
An overview of the threat from pests and diseases in your area, given the specific vulnerabilities of your tree population, can further aid species selection and inform management and risk surveying.
By including both public and private trees, an Urban Forest Asset Valuation can give a better understanding of your urban ecosystem than a Tree Asset Valuation alone. This type of project lends itself very well to public engagement, and provides an excellent opportunity to educate and engage people in the urban forests where they live and work.