Revealing Islington’s urban forest…
In 2019, Treeconomics worked with the London Borough of Islington, to assess tree cover across each of its 16 wards.
These trees, which form part of Islington’s natural capital, are generally recognised and appreciated for their amenity, presence and stature in the cityscape. However, society is often unaware of the many other benefits (or ecosystem services) that trees provide to those living in our towns and cities.
Islington’s publicly managed trees are a crucial part of the town’s urban forest. Many of the benefits that Islington’s urban forest provides are offered through its public trees. This study has enabled Islington to improve and maintain this appreciating asset, and thereby to target resources at the areas that need them the most.
The Tree Canopy Cover Assessment showed that trees cover approximately 25% of Islington, which is considerably higher than the average for other UK towns and cities of 17%. It is suggested that Islington could reasonably aspire to a canopy cover of 30% by 2050, subject to the production of a fully costed and resourced action plan.
The i-Tree Eco Inventory Report showed that trees managed by Islington Borough Council remove 8.1 tonnes of air-borne pollutants each year and store just over 18,000 tonnes of carbon. The most common species was identified as the Sycamore, with 8.2% of the total number surveyed.
As a result of this study, Islington has been able to secure an extra £120K of funding from local government, specifically for new tree planting. Of course, those who will benefit most from this, will be the people who live and work there, for as the study showed, trees really do improve our health and wellbeing.
To complement the publication of the reports, Islington commissioned Treeconomics to create an Urban Forest Webmap – a publicly available online tool which would display the results of the study, in an interactive format, for the benefit of the local community.
Jon Ryan, Arboricultural Manager for Islington’s Tree Services team, stated, “As a result of the i-Tree studies and Webmap, the Borough was able to obtain political support and a substantial amount of funding for the planting and maintenance of new trees. It’s great to see the results graphically rather than trying to tease the results out of data”.
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