Supporting Luton Parks’ Ecosystem’


Treeconomics, in association with Treework Environmental Practice, has provided an i-Tree Eco training and support package to quantify the societal benefits of Luton Borough Council’s parks, thereby facilitating Luton in delivering long-term sustainable ecosystem services for its residents.

The partnership of Treeconomics, the national expert in the i-Tree Eco software and natural resource management, and Treework Environmental Practice, the national leader in strategic tree conservation planning and risk management, is a pioneering approach to the support of integrated park strategy using i-Tree survey data. Measuring the structure of park tree stock to estimate the ecosystem services provides a baseline to monitor improvement and changes and to support future planning.

Wardown Park is the ‘jewel in the crown’ of Luton Borough Council’s parks, a green refuge close to the town centre with exceptional visitor numbers, a beautiful, mature tree canopy and outstanding historic qualities.

Treework Environmental Practice formulated a Strategic Tree Management Plan for Wardown Park, aimed at enhancing its natural and historic contribution. One of the key strategy strands of this involved measuring the true value of its tree stock (the work the trees do for the community) from filtering pollutants, storing and sequestering carbon (ecosystem benefits) that contribute to the Borough’s general health and well-being. In this, Luton Parks’ service was supported in carrying out the first UK comprehensive, quantitative analysis of an urban park tree population.

The Treeconomics-Treework Environmental Practice partnership provided a model staff training and support package for Luton to address wide-ranging policies from climate change, conservation, sustainability and risk management.

Treeconomics’ unique specialism helps provide information on the economic value of natural capital by applying the i-Tree internationally accepted model for quantifying urban forest structure, function and values for communities. i-Tree Eco combines field data with local pollution and meteorological data to quantify the ecological benefits provided by trees and shrubs. By understanding the local, tangible services that trees provide, i-Tree users can link urban forest management activities with environmental quality and community lifestyle.

Through training in the use of i-Tree, Treeconomics has supported Luton’s Strategic Tree Management Plan by capturing baseline data to demonstrate its park trees’ value, enabling priorities to be set for future effective ecosystem decision-making.