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Citywide Effort Maps Austin's Trees!
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Katherine V.
Mueller Community

Posts: 56
Joined on October 27th, 2009
Citywide Effort Maps Austin's Trees!
by Katherine V. on February 9th, 2010

Citywide Effort Maps Austin's Trees
Originally Posted on Maplewood Elementary's Forum by: "Wendy Morgan" wendylmorgan@gmail.com marcommamma
Mon Feb 8, 2010 8:20 am (PST)


Saw this cool story on Statesman.com today about how Treefolks in
partnership with Lady Bird Johnson Wild Flower Center have created a tree
inventory/Google Map. So far there are no trees mapped in Cherrywood,
Wilshire or Mueller, so check out the links below and have fun mapping!

*Statesman*
*Citywide effort to map urban forest gets off the ground* (story below)
http://www.statesma n.com/life/ gardening/ citywide- effort-to- map-urban- forest-gets- off-216831. html

*The Great Austin Tree Roundup*
http://www.treeroundup. org

Best,

Wendy

Citywide effort to map urban forest gets off the ground
By Julie Bonnin
FOR THE AMERICAN-STATESMAN

Some of us have a sentimental attachment to trees. Adults marvel at their
elegant architecture. Children peer in the open crevices of especially
gnarled old live oaks looking for fairies, or climb the limbs like jungle
gyms.

But for those who require more concrete evidence of the contributions trees
make, an innovative citizen-driven effort to map Austin-area trees can help
you calculate how their presence affects a home or business site.

The Great Austin Tree Roundup, launched in 2009, provides an easy online
tool that anyone and everyone is encouraged to utilize. Once inventoried, a
specific tree can be evaluated, based on its species and size. The mapping
site gives you a calculation of the impact on storm water runoff,
electricity savings and other environmental and economic factors.

The Roundup is a joint effort between the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower
Center and TreeFolks, an Austin nonprofit dedicated to planting more trees
and educating people about their value. It grew out of an awareness of the
need to document Austin-area trees, says TreeFolks executive director Scott
Harris.

"The overall value is getting people really thinking about trees as
infrastructure with amazing benefits," Harris says.

Some of those benefits include shading buildings to reduce energy
consumption; capturing large quantities of carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas,
to prevent it from being released into the atmosphere; and mitigating storm
water runoff by filtering pollutants and slowing down the rush of water with
their massive root systems.

"All of the stuff you know trees do, there is a calculator that attaches a
dollar amount to them," Harris says.

While not every tree in Austin will be counted, the mapping will provide
biologists with a better idea of the cross section of tree species that
exist here. For example, urban foresters have projected "a wave of
deforestation in the next few years," Harris said, due to mass plantings of
the short-lived Arizona ash in new home developments. Tree mapping could
help anticipate future urban forest needs and overall trends.

There are other benefits: Unabashed tree huggers now have a way to document
mature trees that might fall victim to a construction project, Harris said.
And the Tree Roundup organizers hope the citizen interaction model will
encourage non-foresters to become involved as "citizen scientists,
furthering knowledge of the diversity of species, structure, health and
functions of trees in their communities, " according to promotional
materials.

That's already happening, Harris says. "People just flip out, everywhere we
present this. There are some folks in the Barton Hills neighborhood who are
mapping trees as fast or faster than we can get the trees up."

And organizers have barely started enlisting help with the project. Scout
troops, schools and a broad range of conservation- minded groups will
eventually be enlisted to help collect data. Previous tree inventories done
by the City of Austin, the Wildflower Center and the University of Texas
account for nearly 20,000 of the 22,634 trees already mapped.

For more information about participating in the Roundup, go to
http://www.treeroundup. org.
 
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