Tree Inventory: Results Provide Important Path Forward

 In Tree Commission

By Troy Ackerman, President, Tree Commission

Several months and 3,717 trees later, the Tree Commission’s tree inventory is complete. This huge undertaking—funded by an Indiana Department of Natural Resources, Division of Forestry, Community and Urban Forestry (IDNR CUF) grant program by the USDA Forest Service Northeastern Area, along with matching dollars from the city—allowed the Tree Commission to get a comprehensive picture of the city-owned trees and their health.

The inventory revealed:

Next Steps

The inventory gives us a management plan for maintaining and expanding the city’s tree canopy. More specifically, it helps the city start to prioritize next steps, including how departments will collaborate on tree maintenance and ensure that proper funding is in place.

Our primary goals for 2022 and 2023 include:

  • Removing dead trees and stumps
  • Pruning trees first that are at risk
  • Establishing a plan for routinely and proactively managing tree care and maintenance
  • Determining budget, staff and equipment needs
  • Planting new trees annually to protect the tree canopy (likely to begin in 2023)
  • Diversifying the types of trees
  • Pruning young trees to improve structure encouraging better form as they age—a cost-saver in future years
  • Using TreeKeeper® to keep the inventory up-to-date as work is performed
  • Performing an annual ANSI Level 1 inventory to identify new maintenance priorities that popped up since the last inventory
  • Performing either a complete re-inventory in 5 years or updating 1/5 of the population every year


The Return on Investment

When properly maintained, trees return environmental, economic and social value to the community—far exceeding the time and money invested in planning, pruning, protection and removal.

Some of the key environmental benefits include:

  • Shading and acting as windbreaks, which decreases energy consumption
  • Slowing and reducing the amount of stormwater that reached storm drains, rivers and lakes
  • Reducing noise loves
  • Cleansing atmospheric pollutants
  • Producing oxygen and absorbing carbon dioxide
  • Stabilizing the soil by controlling wind and water erosion
  • Providing a habitat for wildlife

 

Additionally from an economic and social perspective, trees make an area more attractive, which in turn, increases property values, appeals to commercial businesses and enhances quality of life.

If you’re interested in learning more about the Tree Commission’s work or the tree inventory, please reach out to me at tfackerman@ci.auburn.in.us.

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