Saturday, August 28, 2010

Goal: Increase Tree Coverage Toward 30% in all Neighborhoods by 2025 - Philadelphia, PA

Phila.Gov | Mayor's Office of Sustainability | Greenworks Philadelphia | Equity-Target 11

Increase Tree Coverage Toward 30 Percent In All Neighborhoods by 2025

Tree Canopy Assessment Will Guide Major Planting Campaign

The City of Philadelphia is creating a strategic and comprehensive plan to reach the Greenworks goal of planting 300,000 trees by 2015. With funds from the United States Forest Service, the City is conducting an urban tree canopy assessment. Using satellite imagery that is accurate to within one meter and LiDAR technology that can measure tree height, the survey will include virtually every tree in Philadelphia and identify the best opportunities for planting. In the meantime, the City is working to find nursery stock for the ambitious planting schedule and to revise the City's zoning code to encourage tree planting.

Exotic tree causing problems; San Francisco, CA

The Bay Citizen - A Green Idea That Sounded Good Until the Trees Went to Work -
The 1980s had their share of ill-fated ideas — parachute pants, Betamax and New Coke, to name a few — but for San Francisco property owners, the cursed relic of that decade is the Metrosideros excelsus.

More commonly known as the New Zealand Christmas tree, it is distinctive for its crimson flowers, its ability to thrive almost anywhere and roots that can grow to nine inches in diameter — destroying sewer lines and sidewalks.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Steven can plan: Increasing the City of Chicago’s tree canopy - Chicago, IL

Steven can plan – Increasing the City of Chicago’s tree canopy:
The assignment: You are on a team working with the City of Chicago on increasing the City’s tree canopy from just under 15% to 25%. What would you recommend? Please bear in mind that most city staff feel that they have covered most�city owned land and that to reach the goal they will have to get private landowners to plant the trees. How can we get them to do this? What types of parcels present opportunities?

The class: Sustainable Development Techniques

How the class works: The professors invite working professionals to speak to the class each week. After the lecture from these guests, a short discussion ensues. The guests design the homework questions. The following week, the class discusses their responses with each other and the professors."

Ottawa County works to resolve tree canopy conflict - Holland, MI

Ottawa County works to resolve tree canopy conflict - Holland, MI - The Holland Sentinel:
Two diverging interests stand out among the re-established Tree Legacy Committee members.

Public utilities and road officials want to keep their power lines and streets functional and safe, while residents want to preserve the tree-lined roads that help make the county a beautiful place to live.

But at its first meeting since 2007, all 14 members agreed the committee should be able to come up with a compromise that will satisfy everyone at the table.

“I think it’s really close — I think we could definitely accomplish it,” said Bill Bush of the Holland Board of Public Works.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

"Urban and community forests of the Pacific region: California, Oregon, Washington" report released by USDA FS NRS

Urban and community forests of the Pacific region: California, Oregon, Washington:
This report details how land cover and urbanization vary within the states of California, Oregon, and Washington by community (incorporated and census designated places), county subdivision, and county. Specifically this report provides critical urban and community forestry information for each state including human population characteristics and trends, changes in urban and community lands, tree canopy and impervious surface cover characteristics, distribution of land-cover classes, a relative comparison of urban and community forests among local government types, determination of priority areas for tree planting, and a summary of urban tree benefits. Report information can improve the understanding, management, and planning of urban and community forests. This data is reported for each state on the CD provided in the back of this book and may be accessed by state at:

Planning to Restore Canopy Lost to Ivan - Pensacola, FL

Pensacola District 3: Thougts about our Tree Canopy Plan:
Our Environmental Advisory Board has been tasked with looking at our Tree Canopy within the City and develop some preliminary information to help create our canopy plan. We lost 50% of our tree canopy after Hurricane Ivan and this directly affects the quality of our ozone. Here are some thoughts from WFRPC.

Making Peace with Nature: Trees and Power Lines | The Kojo Nnamdi Show - Washington, DC

Making Peace with Nature: Trees and Power Lines | The Kojo Nnamdi Show:
A lush tree canopy shapes the face of the Washington region. But beautiful trees can also make life difficult -- just ask the thousands of people who lost power this summer. We explore how trees and other pieces of our natural landscape interact with public infrastructure.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Tree protection rules found wanting - Miami, FL

Canopy shrinks as 'dozers work - Home & Garden -
Only gray dirt and heaps of splintered trees remain where a wooded lot once stood in the Continental Park neighborhood in east Kendall.

Neighbors who look at the empty lot wish more had been done to protect the hundreds of trees that once grew there.

``To have allowed this to occur is just unbelievable,'' said Ted Baker, a landscape architect who lives a few blocks away from the site. ``These things shouldn't have been removed.''

Where the mayoral candidates stand on the environment - Toronto, Canada

Where the mayoral candidates stand on the environment:
The assesment was released with the hope that 'Torontonians will use this report card to discuss environmental issues with candidates.'

But this hasn't happened.

According to James Dougan, an urban environmental issues consultant and former professor at the University of Toronto, our city faces several significant environmental challenges. Such as Emerald Ash Borer, a beetle native to Asia, which has invaded southern Ontario and threatens to destroy canopy in many urban areas around the GTA.

'This is happening just as we begin to take seriously the significant benefits that our urban tree canopy provides,' Dougan explains.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

O'Neil-Dunne of UVM keeping it real on tree canopy mapping: maps are about maps

Letters from the SAL: Is the Peer Reviewed Literature the Best Place to Publish?

This New York Times article resurrected a question that pops up in my head every time I read a peer reviewed article in a remote sensing journal that involves some type of  land cover mapping: is this really the best medium for publishing this work?
The typical journal article with have an introduction, methods, results, and discussion.  There will be 1-2 screen captures of the final product, most likely in black and white, and then an accuracy assessment.  The screen captures are typically of a relatively small area, and often at a scale not suitable for assessing the quality of the data.  The accuracy assessment is of course done by the very people who did the analysis, which is hardly an independent assessment.  The problem is further exacerbated by the fact that the slow pace of peer review means that an article published today is likely the result of techniques applied 2, 3, or more years ago.  In the rapidly evolving remote sensing field this is a lifetime.  There are strong arguments for the peer review process, but if the reviewer does not have access to the end product they are simply reviewing a story about the data.

OU Prof Geoff Buckley to be featured in Casey Trees fall lecture series: Washington, DC

Our Urban Forest: Historical Roots, Enduring Legacies, Future Challenges | Cultural Tourism DC:
September 16, 2010 - 6:30pm - 9:00pm
This class is divided into three parts. During the first hour, we will review the origins and meaning of tree planting in the public landscape of European cities from the sixteenth through the nineteenth centuries. We will then turn our attention to North America where we trace the roots of urban forestry in the U.S. from the nineteenth century to the present. The second half of the class will focus on urban forest management as it has played out in Baltimore, Maryland since 1912 – the year the city passed its first street tree ordinance. Drawing on recent research conducted in support of the Long-Term Ecological Research – Baltimore Ecosystem Study (LTER-BES) we will examine a broad range of topics relating to present-day urban forest management. More specifically, we will consider urban trees as providers of ecosystem services; examine the social, cultural, and economic benefits (and costs) of expanding urban tree canopy; and explore social and environmental justice issues tied to the uneven and inequitable distribution of trees.

Mayor's Green Ribbon Panel says Planting, Species Selection and Maintenance of Trees Will Create More Vibrant City - Nashville, TN

Survey shows Nashville needs to concentrate on tree planting | Nashville City Paper: Nashville's Online Source for Daily News:
A new tree canopy assessment released Wednesday by Metro says a greater emphasis on appropriate planting, species selection and maintenance is needed to create a vibrant urban forest in downtown Nashville.

The report, dubbed the Metro Tree Canopy Assessment Project, is a product of the Metro Beautification and Environment Commission and the Metro Tree Advisory Committee. The assessment is part of a new Tree Master Plan recommended by Mayor Karl Dean’s Green Ribbon Committee.

According to the report, there are 2,059 trees in downtown Nashville. The revised downtown tree inventory projects a potential annual savings for the city of $71,857 by reducing the cost of energy, carbon dioxide and storm water runoff, while increasing air quality and property values. The inventory found that the London plane tree is most abundant (13.8 percent of the inventory), followed by Japanese zelkova (8.1 percent); Willow Oak (7.5 percent); Sweetgum (7.2 percent); and Chinese Elm (5.9 percent).

City looks to double tree canopy cover to 30% - St. Catharines, Ontario, CA

City looks to boost tree population - St. Catharines Standard - Ontario, CA:
Diane Goldsworthy cringes every time a tree is cut down in her central St. Catharines neighbourhood.

'I'm in an area where there's lots of old trees, and when the trees get cut down my house gets hot, I can see everyone else's house,' Goldsworthy said Wednesday night at a public meeting on the city's proposed urban forest management plan.

Goldsworthy, a semi-retired information technology specialist, said she welcomes the proposed urban tree guidelines crafted by city planners.
The 80-page draft plan sets a framework on how to boost the number of trees in the Garden City and how to protect the estimated 300,000 existing ones. Among the more contentious ideas is a private tree bylaw to govern the removal of certain sizes, type, historic or threatened trees on private property.

Goldsworthy said some people need to be given clear direction when it comes to protecting trees.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

University of Vermont Spatial Analysis Lab asks: Did the Land Cover Change? - Roanoke, VA

Letters from the SAL: Did the Land Cover Change?:
On the surface it would lead one to think that planting 3000 trees resulted in the overall tree canopy increasing from 32% to 48% (over 17 sq km) in a relatively short period of time. This equates to 1.4 acres of tree canopy for each one of the 3000 trees planted. Even if natural growth is factored in this does not appear to be possible, particularly as some tree canopy would likely have been lost. The 2002 Urban Ecosystem Analysis was done by American Forests, and appears to be a pixel-based classification of high-resolution satellite imagery. The 2010 report from the Virginia Department of Forestry was based on the 2008 1m NAIP, with object-based techniques used extract land cover. Using two differing land cover sources to report change yields misleading information.

Beautification and Environment Commission posts Tree Canopy Assessment and Inventory info; Nashville, TN - Beautification and Environment Commission - Tree Canopy Assessment:
The Metro Tree Advisory Committee within Metro Public Works Beautification and Environment Commission has the mission to assist in educating the community and agencies of the Metropolitan Government regarding the value of trees and proper techniques for the planting, maintenance and removal of trees.
In 2009, the Tree Advisory Committee commissioned a Tree Inventory of the downtown area of Nashville and a Tree Canopy Assessment. The goal of a tree inventory and tree canopy assessment is to help stakeholders and decision makers understand what trees currently exist and appropriate methodologies to increase the tree canopy.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

City soliciting proposals for Urban Tree Canopy Assessment; Bonney Lake, WA

Notice is hereby given that the City of Bonney Lake, WA is soliciting proposals for an Urban Tree Canopy Assessment in support of the City’s Community Forestry Program.

Contact Executive Assistant Brian Hartsell at (253) 447-3102 or for RFP documents.

Proposals must be received in the office of Brian Hartsell, Executive Assistant, City Hall, 19306 Bonney Lake Blvd, PO Box 7380, Bonney Lake, WA, 98391 4:00 p.m. PST, Thursday, September 9, 2010. It is the sole responsibility of the respondent to ensure that their submittal is in the possession of the City by the appointed date and time. The City of Bonney Lake shall assume no responsibility for any delay in U.S., County or any other mail service resulting in a submittal being received late.

Governor Rell Announces DEP Grants for Urban Forestry Projects; CT

DEP: Governor Rell Announces Grants for Urban Forestry Projects:
Governor M. Jodi Rell today announced that 17 municipalities and non-profit organizations will receive $75,925 in America the Beautiful grants for urban forestry projects in their communities.
'These federal funds will all enable us to beautify communities across Connecticut,' Governor Rell said, 'The planting of trees throughout Connecticut will enhance neighborhoods and parks for residents and visitors alike. Trees play an important role in environmental protection while enhancing the look of a community and improving everyone’s quality of life.'

Monday, August 9, 2010

Answers for Missing Trees at 14th & D St SE; Washington, DC
Earlier this week, a listserv post caught my eye. We had just received a call from a constituent with questions about a missing tree, and as we were contacting DDOT, it turns out neighbors were doing the same thing. They spoke with the Urban Forestry Administration and seemed to have a very reasonable response for the unfortunate loss of the trees. In case others are curious about what happened, and with permission from the authors, I’ve reprinted the messages below.
Also, always feel free to contact Tommy’s office, or call 311 (or visit online at with any questions about missing trees or other questions. And we'll also be happy to work with you on getting the trees through Casey Trees.

Feeling the love for DC's trees; Washington, DC

Love of trees in the District seems to be at a high point:
In 1971, Congress cut Washington's appropriation for tree planting from $60,000 to $5,000. A year later, one observer estimated that the city was suffering a net loss of 1,700 trees a year. Another put the figure closer to 3,500. The arboreal neglect continued into the '80s and '90s. The City of Trees -- the leafy nickname the District had earned in the 19th century -- was in danger of becoming the City of Stumps.
But Washington's trees have weathered many ups and downs, surviving alternating cycles of affection and neglect. Answer Man is happy to say we seem to be at a high point in our tree love. Future generations will decide whether we kept it up.
Last week, Answer Man traced the roots of Washington's urban forest. This week, he looks at the green buds of future growth. Here's the math: About 35 percent of the District is covered with forest canopy. The goal is to increase it to 40 percent by 2035, a feat that will require planting 8,600 trees a year. The goal is both aesthetic and environmental: Trees help keep pollutants from reaching our streams, rivers and bays.

Researchers take tree census in Seattle using iTree; Seattle, WA

Study's goal: Finding out how much Seattle's trees are worth: "Standing on a steep incline surrounded by tall alders, cottonwoods and maple trees, the two men in orange vests stretch out a measuring tape.
Troy Beady lays one end on the forest floor at the higher elevation, then Jack Simonson stretches the other end straight ahead to a point where it meets the tree, about 5 feet above the descending ground. Then Beady tilts a hand-held meter until he can see the top of the mature alder they're surveying. He calls out the calculated figure, then Simonson adds on the length of the trunk below the tape and announces the tree's estimated height, in meters: 'Thirty-five-point seven-five,' he said. That's more than 117 feet tall.
Slowly, for the rest of this summer and maybe into next spring, the crew is circulating through Seattle, assessing city trees one plot at a time trying to answer a fundamental question: What is Seattle's urban forest worth?
The study is being undertaken with the U.S. Forest Service, the University of Washington, Cascade Land Conservancy, King County and Seattle. It will ultimately estimate the trees' economic worth to the city: how much pollution they absorb, how much summer cooling they provide and how much storm water they absorb in winter, showing how much they might save in energy and drainage costs."

Swift fall ahead for Longview's plush tree canopy; Longview, WA

Swift fall ahead for Longview's plush tree canopy:
In a decade or two, Longview's huge, old trees that make a walk down city streets a sun-dappled delight will be just a memory, and it will be years before the replacement trees the city has been planting furiously are anywhere near the same size, city arborists say.
A 'large percentage' of trees are mature or over-mature and beginning to fail, according to Longview Parks officials.
'They're all about the same age and will die about the same time,' said Longview Parks Supervisor Curt Nedved. 'The canopy we have right now is gorgeous, but we're going to lose that canopy.'

Will Silva Cells help improve Toronto's urban forest?; Toronto, Canada

Will Silva Cells help improve Toronto's urban forest?:
The city's Official Plan calls for the extension of the city's tree canopy from its current 17% to 30%. One of the major issues limiting the current tree canopy is the difficulty in growing healthy trees along the city's main thoroughfares. Urban trees face several difficulties, but the most intractable issue is the problem of soil compaction. Trees are healthiest when they are planted in uncompacted soil because this allows water, air and nutrients to reach their roots. However, an urban environment requires hard surfaces to support people and vehicles, and hard surfaces naturally compact soil. Silva Cells are a potential solution to this problem.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Arbor anger: City, tree preservation panel at odds; Seattle, WA

Arbor anger: City, tree preservation panel at odds:
A commission set up to help Seattle preserve and expand its stock of trees is at odds with the city agency that might end up enforcing tree-harvesting rules.
And now, out of frustration, a group of citizen activists will try to draw up their own tree-preservation rules starting this weekend.
In their first public comment, members of the Urban Forestry Commission made clear their dislike of a new tree-management system proposed by the city Department of Planning and Development (DPD). The agency proposed a new set of tree-preservation rules that includes incentives for preserving trees on single-family lots when homes are built or replaced, require new street trees near new or replaced homes, allow builders to consider adding trees as part of required landscaping and allow height or setback changes to preserve existing trees.

Urban foraging, a pick-your-own buffet; Philadelphia, PA

Urban foraging, a pick-your-own buffet Philadelphia Inquirer 08/05/2010:
A peach tree grows in South Philadelphia - at the back of a scrubby little parking lot, at the corner of Seventh and Catharine Streets, overhanging a whitewashed cinder-block wall.
It's a beautiful tree, almost 15 feet tall, its branches heavy with clusters of luscious-looking peaches. The sun has turned the fruit near the top a deeper shade of red. It's 10 in the morning and it's already hot, and I want one.
The tree is one of several listed on the Philadelphia Food Harvest Map, a collaborative, user-sourced Google map that allows people to add locations in the city and suburbs where edible plants are growing in public spaces.

O'Neil-Dunne of UVM demonstrates use of LiDAR in tree canopy assessment

Urban Tree Canopy - LiDAR News:
It may sound like an oxymoron, but it turns out that there is a growing (no pun intended – really) interest in accurately measuring urban tree canopy. A leader in the field, Jarlath O’Neill Dunn uses LiDAR and context-based analysis to develop dependable estimates. This article helps to demonstrates the importance of doing this right the first time.
During a visit to his Spatial Analysis Lab at the University of Vermont last week he gave my son and I some insight to the challenges of trying to automate the identification of trees in an urban setting, especially with leaf off LiDAR. Automating the process of detecting tree canopies is just not that easy.

Rehoboth approves bid for tree canopy project; Rehobeth, DE - Rehoboth approves bid for tree canopy project:
The Rehoboth Beach commissioners unanimously approved a bid by Davey Resource Group of Ohio to conduct a tree inventory of all public trees within the city.

The city received a $15,000 grant from the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control to conduct the study. The city’s building and licensing department will oversee the inventory.

Bryan Hall, of the Office of State Planning Coordination, said the work is time sensitive for two reasons: one, to meet grant requirements, and two, to have leaves on the trees to ensure a more accurate tree count. Hall said Davey was the only bidder to submit a complete bid, which includes an inventory of all public trees and an estimate for a tree canopy assessment.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Blogger shares his expertise in design, ignorance of biology; Miami, FL

The Grand Lie of Urban Forestry
Urban forestry has lots of useful information to offer, but there is a big lie at the heart of the majority of the work of urban forestry which threatens to discredit the entire discipline if anybody will call their hand on it. It’s the Root Zone Myth.

As with any myth, there is some kernel of embedded truth. In the case of the Root Zone Myth, it’s the fact that, left alone in a field, a tree’s roots will spread about as far as its drip line, which is the outer limit of its leaves. So if the tree’s limbs and leaves were 40 feet in diameter, its root system would be, too. Now, the urban foresters are saying that’s not good enough; a tree’s root system actually extends 2-1/2 times as far as the drip line. So for that tree with a 40-foot canopy, the roots actually extend to a 100-foot diameter.

A look at the shady side of the Abingtons; Clarks Summit, PA

A look at the shady side of the Abingtons The Abington Journal, Clarks Summit, PA:
A meeting was held at Capwell Hall of Keystone College about an overview of the Urban Tree Canopy (UTC) July 13. The Urban Tree Canopy is the layer of leaves, branches and stems of trees that cover the ground when viewed from above. Researchers estimate that tree canopy cover in urban and metropolitan areas across the United States averages only 27 and 33 percent, respectively, despite the fact that tree canopies lower city temperatures, save energy and reduce air pollution.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Answer Man recounts how Nation's Capital came to be known as the 'City of Trees'; Washington, DC

John Kelly - In its early days, District grew into the 'City of Trees':
Answer Man could not find the precise instant Washington went from being a city of trees to being the City of Trees. Suffice to say that the notion, if not the Chamber of Commerce-esque sobriquet, has deep roots. (Get it?)
'George Washington was a passionate tree lover,' said Melanie Choukas-Bradley, a local author who literally wrote the book on the subject: 'City of Trees: The Complete Field Guide to the Trees of Washington, D.C.'
As Answer Man and Melanie recently emerged from Union Station and caught sight of the gleaming Capitol dome seemingly floating atop clouds of trees, she said: 'The first thing you see is this beautiful green welcoming tree canopy. It's been part of our heritage since Day One.'