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High-tech urban tree analysis underway

Monday, July 18, 2016 (Halifax, NS) – The Halifax Regional Municipality and Dalhousie University are teaming up to research the current state of our urban forest.

Over the next several weeks, post-graduate students from Dalhousie’s School for Resource and Environmental Studies will fan out across the municipality’s urban core to assess everything from the percentage of tree cover, types of tree species, height and width of trees in specific areas, and the direction/distance of trees to buildings.

This project work and data analysis will culminate in the municipality’s second-ever detailed look at the economic and environmental benefits of our urban forest inventory. The first study was completed in 2007.

The municipality will rely on high-tech software iTree Eco, a platform designed to analyze data to measure forest structure, environmental effects, and the value of urban canopies to communities.

iTree Eco is used by urban forest managers across North America, and has been a driver behind many urban forest management plans in Canada and the United States.

This summer’s project will take researchers to 200 randomly selected plots across the urban core – on both private and public land – where researchers will collect key tree data. The goal is to identify and quantify changes in our urban forest, compared to the 2007 results.

This research is only possible with the co-operation of landowners, by allowing access to private property and restricted areas to measure the trees and ground cover at the precise locations of the randomly located sample plots. The amount of time needed on a property will depend on the number of trees within the 12-metre plot.

Data collected on residential properties will remain confidential and won’t be used on a per-property basis or be linked to civic addresses. Information will only be used to create a better understanding of the tree canopy in communities across the municipality.

Citizens can click here to see a map of the randomly selected plots where researchers will be visiting.

For more information on this study, and the municipality’s overall Urban Forest Master Plan, go to: www.halifax.ca/property/UFMP.

The results of this year’s study will be available in October, 2016.

Source: Release

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