This past Saturday we had a crew of citizen foresters out and about at Middle Shoreline Harbor Park and the Bay Bridge Trail measuring trees in an effort to quantify the ecosystem services that the urban forest provides. iTree Eco, a software tool developed by the USDA, allows for cities, land managers and urban forestry groups to collect field data on trees and input it into their online system for analysis and receive a full report on the services that the forest provides. The report includes details pertaining to:
- Urban forest structure – types of trees, amount of trees all categorized by land use type
- Hourly amount of pollution removed by the urban forest, and associated percent air quality improvement throughout a year.
- Hourly urban forest volatile organic compound emissions and the relative impact of tree species on net ozone and carbon monoxide formation throughout the year.
- Public health incidence reduction and economic benefit based on the effect of trees on air quality improvement.
- Total carbon stored and net carbon annually sequestered by the urban forest.
- Effects of trees on building energy use and consequent effects on carbon dioxide emissions from power plants.
- Yearly tree canopy rainfall interception summarized by tree species or land use.
- Compensatory value of the forest, as well as the value of air pollution removal and carbon storage and sequestration.
- Pests risk analyses based on host susceptibility, pest/disease range and tree structural value.
The turnout was a great mix: UC Berkeley students volunteering for their Alternative Breaks program, various tree groups interested in replicating the iTree survey for their respective cities and horticulture enthusiasts. During this trial run we successfully measured 152 trees down at the Port and we hope to measure the rest in the near future! For more information on this program check out the iTree website.
We are always interested when the media covers local issues we are working on, especially national coverage. Recently the New York Times published a story that opened with a family based in Oakland, California and their difficulty in affording prescription asthma medication. The United States on average spends far more per capita on prescription inhalers than any other developed country. People living in West Oakland, encircled by three freeways and the port, are well aware of this cost because they are disproportionally affected by this disease due to pollution. In a nation where prescription costs for inhalers are extremely high, and where you live drastically increases your chances of getting asthma, your options are limited. This is what Adapt Oakland hopes to mitigate, by constructing dense urban forestry in between the source of the pollution and the residential neighborhood we can reduce the environmental health costs inflicted on West Oakland residents.
Particulate matter pollution – nitrous oxide, carbon monoxide and other fine particulates – that are responsible for illnesses such as asthma, will soon be monitored thanks to three new Air Quality Monitors being installed in Oakland, Berkeley and San Jose. Bay Area Air Quality District is to thank for this upcoming installation and believes the new data can provide more detailed information on air quality of residential neighborhoods located close to major roads.
Urban Biofilters’ fellow Collaborator, Margaret Gordon from the West Oakland Environmental Indicators Project was interviewed for an in depth article announcing the new monitoring system as well as covering some of the serious air issues in parts of West Oakland that we at Adapt Oakland are hoping to help. Check out the article here!