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.