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iTree Eco Project in Torbay

The iTree Eco Project is now complete!

The findings from this project can be found in the related documents "Torbay's Urban Forest - Assessing Urban Forest Effects and Values."

What is iTree?

Trees provide multiple ecosystem benefits yet without measuring these ecosystem services no baseline can be established from which to monitor future progress. If you cannott measure your resource how can it be managed? Torbay are conducting the UK’s first pilot i-Tree Eco project, in order to measure the value of the ecosystem services that its trees provide. The project is applying a system that has been successfully used in other countries but which has not yet been adapted for the UK climate and growing conditions.

Project Aims:

To quantify the ecosystem services of Torbay’s trees and provide pound values for these services in order to establish a datum point from which to measure future progress and to demonstrate the worth of its trees.
To collate UK region specific data on species growth rates, energy use, pollution and climate. These factors needed to be incorporated into the model, thereby improving its validity and ensuring that the data it produces is as accurate and as relevant as possible for UK conditions.
To share the experience, hopefully encouraging others to carry out similar exercises (the software and data analysis are free) as even greater benefit will be realised when there are other UK projects from which comparisons can be drawn.

Methods:

The UK pilot is being delivered as a partnership between Hi-line (project management and field work), Davey Group (i-Tree Eco developers) Forest Research (UK data handling), Torbay Council (host area) with assistance from Natural England. In the summer of 2010, information on tree cover, size, species, tree health and ground cover will be collected from 250 random plots stratified by land use across Torbay by trained arboriculturists. Region and species specific data on climate, hourly pollution, growth rates and net primary production was obtained from empirical sources by Forest Research and this information was fed into the model.
Once the results have been collated, Torbay Council will be able to see in quantifiable terms exactly what the benefits of trees are in Torbay and we will try to use this information to establish further planting sites around Torbay.

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