OpenTreeMap allows cities to inventory trees and see the environmental and economic benefits.
Trees have numerous environmental benefits. The U.S. Forest Service even has a free software program called i-Tree that calculates the environmental and economic benefits of trees. However, as Ben Schiller reports, most cities do not have an accurate tree inventory to see these benefits. Studies are even showing a decline in urban tree population.
Fortunately, as Schiller explains, OpenTreeMap is allowing cities like Philadelphia, Tampa, and San Diego to map and manage their trees by inventorying trees themselves or through citizen participation. OpenTreeMap links directly to the i-Tree program to compute “benefits like CO2 storage, water and energy conservation, and reduction in airborne pollution.” The goal is that "[quantifying] the benefit of trees makes arguing for them easier."
The future iteration of OpenTreeMap will include a feature that “simulates tree plantings and their impacts…It will help planners work out where to plant trees for maximum environmental effect, and to understand how rows of trees might perform over their lifetimes.”
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HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research
Rowan University's Department of Geography, Planning, & Sustainability
City Of Oakland
Hillsborough County Public Schools
City of Raleigh
This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.