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Individual Highlight

Database captures urban tree sizes, growth rates across U.S.

Photo of The General Technical Report and Urban Tree Database provide species-specific data on tree growth that are critical to projecting uptake of air pollutants and other services that trees provide. The General Technical Report and Urban Tree Database provide species-specific data on tree growth that are critical to projecting uptake of air pollutants and other services that trees provide. Snapshot : Sometimes in the cramped environs of U.S. cities every inch counts, especially if attempting to make space for nature. City planners and urban foresters now have a resource to more precisely select tree species whose growth will be a landscaping dream instead of a maintenance nightmare.

Principal Investigators(s) :
McPherson, E. Gregory 
Research Location : Davis, California
Research Station : Pacific Southwest Research Station (PSW)
Year : 2017
Highlight ID : 1381

Summary

The U.S. Forest Service's Pacific Southwest Research Station published a technical manual and launched the most extensive database available for cataloging urban trees with their projected growth tailored to specific geographic regions. "Knowing a tree's maximum size can avoid future conflicts between roots and sidewalks or branches and power lines," said Greg McPherson, research forester for the Forest Service and lead author of the technical report and database. The products are a culmination of 14 years of work, analyzing more than 14,000 trees across the United States. Whereas prior growth models typically featured only a few species specific to a given city or region, the newly released database features 171 distinct species across 16 U.S. climate zones. The trees studied also spanned a range of ages with data collected from a consistent set of measurements. Written in a way to be accessible to non-technical users, the technical report gives step-by-step instructions on how to use the equations to calculate tree dimensions, biomass, carbon storage and other features of interest to urban foresters.

Additional Resources

Urban tree database and allometric equations(publication)

Forest Service Partners

External Partners

 
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture