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New Model Predicts Urban Tree Growth

Tree height, crown base, and leaf area for same-aged green ash in Fort Collins, CO and Cheyenne, WY. Upper lines represent height, lower lines represent height to first branch. Ash have only 55 % of the Fort Collins' ash leaf area, largely due to differences in climate and soils. Forest ServiceSnapshot : New study developed growth equations for urban tree species throughout the United States

Principal Investigators(s) :
McPherson, Greg 
Research Location : United States
Research Station : Pacific Southwest Research Station (PSW)
Year : 2012
Highlight ID : 104

Summary

The scientists developed more than 1,800 growth equations from measurements on more than 17,000 trees in 16 U.S. cities. For each reference city the scientists produced a Municipal Forest Resource Assessment that quantified annual benefits and costs. A Community Tree Guide and a brochure, Trees Pay Us Back, were produced for each of the cities. This information is based on the 40-year benefits and costs of typical large, medium, and small trees has been widely used to show the value of healthy trees.

The scientists developed more than 1,800 growth equations from measurements on more than 17,000 trees in 16 U.S. cities. For each reference city the scientists produced a Municipal Forest Resource Assessment that quantified annual benefits and costs. A Community Tree Guide and a brochure, Trees Pay Us Back, were produced for each of the cities. This information is based on the 40-year benefits and costs of typical large, medium, and small trees has been widely used to show the value of healthy trees. For example, groups of people monitoring trees use the Forest Service data for price tags attached to legacy trees that display the dollar value of ecosystem services produced.

The study's tree growth research is central to many computer models used in urban forestry, such as i-Tree Streets, i-Tree Design, National Tree Benefit Calculator, and Open Source Map. A tree growth database will be complete in 2013 and serve as a valuable source of information that reflects regional differences in species composition, climate, soils, site conditions, and management practices.

In 2011, the lead scientist for this study was instrumental in establishing the International Society of Arboriculture's first working group on Urban Tree Growth & Longevity. As the chair of this group, he convened the Urban Tree Growth and Longevity Conference in 2011 at the Morton Arboretum in Lisle, IL, and a year later, the Urban Tree Monitoring Symposium in Portland, OR. These international conferences brought researchers and practitioners together to discuss the current state of knowledge concerning urban tree growth and monitoring. Two special issues of the Journal of Arboriculture & Urban Forestry contain papers presented at the conference.

Additional Resources

Urban tree growth modeling(publication)