Forest Service R&D develops education and decision tools to support urban natural resources stewardship and green infrastructure planning.
i-Tree Software Suite
The i-Tree Software Suite is a set of urban forestry analysis and benefit assessment tools. i-Tree applications enable users to examine urban forest resources at all scales, from entire states and municipalities to neighborhoods, lots, and individual trees. i-Tree increases understanding of urban forest resources and helps inform green infrastructure management and planning.
i-Tree is specifically designed to meet the needs of all communities. The toolset can be used by state forestry agencies, cities, stewardship groups, residents, students, and anyone else interested in learning more about and caring for their local forest resources.
Urban Tree Canopy Assessment
Urban Tree Canopy (UTC) Assessment is a Forest Service tool that provides detailed information about the urban tree canopy — it helps a community answer two critical questions: How much tree canopy do we have? How much could we have? A separate prioritization process allows different interest groups to bring their tree planting priorities together to develop a comprehensive urban tree canopy cover plan.
The Forest Service, in partnership with the University of Vermont’s Spatial Analysis Lab, has completed UTC Assessments for a number of U.S. communities and has tested the prioritization process in New York City and in Baltimore.
Stewardship Mapping and Assessment Project
The Stewardship Mapping and Assessment Project (STEW-MAP) is an online, searchable GIS database that helps people identify and locate environmental stewardship organizations, partnerships, and opportunities in their city. Customized downloads and interactive maps support local agencies in natural resource management and planning. STEW-MAP also serves as an innovative research tool for understanding civic environmental stewardship networks.
STEW-MAP was first piloted in New York City and is now being replicated in Chicago, Seattle, and Baltimore.
Tree Carbon Calculator
The Forest Service’s Tree Carbon Calculator (CTCC) is a software program that provides carbon sequestration and energy savings data for individual trees. The Tree Carbon Calculator is approved by the California Climate Action Reserve’s Urban Forest Project Protocol for the quantification of carbon sequestration from tree planting projects.
The Forest Service’s Pacific Southwest Research Station is developing a new online tool that will replace the Tree Carbon Calculator. Currently in beta testing for all California climate zones, the ecoSmart Landscapes tool uses a Google Maps interface to allow homeowners to estimate the environmental and economic benefits provided by trees now and in the future. Data for the remainder of the U.S., as well as an enterprise version designed for city planners and large-scale projects, are due out later in 2013.