The results of London’s i-Tree Survey are now available. The results of the London iTree urban forest survey were published on the 2nd December 2015 in the House of Lords. Attending was the host Lord Framlingham, Environment Minister Rory Stewart, Sir Harry Studholme (Forestry Commission Chair) and other senior representatives from London, the tree sector and the built environment sector.
The report has identified that the tree population of inner and outer London holds nearly 2.4 million tonnes of carbon and is sequestering an additional 77,000 tonnes per annum. This is equivalent to the total amount of carbon generated by 26 billion vehicle miles.
The report estimates the Capital Assessment Value (CAVAT ) – the functional, visual and social contribution value of London’s urban forest as £43.3 billion. London’s canopy cover is calculated at 21% and the most common species in inner London are Birch, Lime and Apple and in outer London it’s Sycamore, Oak and Hawthorn. It is also interesting to look at the sheer variety of species – 126 different tree species which is the highest recorded species diversity of any urban forest analysed with i-Tree in the UK.
“The importance of trees in the urban environment is unquestionable but is often minimised and lost amongst the myriad of other competing factors involved in urban space making, creation, management and maintenance.” Source: Sir Terry Farrell, CBE
“The millions of trees and shrubs in London’s parks, gardens, woodlands and open spaces are collectively described as London’s ‘urban forest’. This urban forest is part of London’s green infrastructure. It provides a range of ecosystem services that delivers multiple environmental benefits to Londoners. The scale and effectiveness of these benefits, such as air quality improvement, carbon sequestration or temperature reduction, are directly influenced by the way we manage the resource and decisions and actions that affect its structure and composition over time.” Source: London i-Tree Eco Project Report Executive Summary.
“This project demonstrates just how much can be achieved when we engage with the largest stakeholders of our urban forest – the public. Without them this study (the world’s largest urban forest survey using citizen science), this report, and what it reveals, would simply not have been possible. In addition, London has also developed a core group of trained and skilled i-Tree surveyors from all walks of life. They are now able to carry out further i-Tree Eco (and other tree) surveys, thereby helping to raise awareness of the benefits of London’s trees.” Source: London i-Tree Eco Project Report
The i-Tree Eco survey methodology was developed by the US Forest Service to assess the ecosystem service value of urban forests across the world. It has been used in Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Barcelona, Melbourne and, closer to home, in Edinburgh and Glasgow. However, the London survey uniquely teamed professional volunteers with ordinary members of the public who all received training in the i-Tree Eco methodology. The survey element of the project could then be delivered solely by volunteers.