i-Tree is a suite of tools developed by the US Forest Service to better utilise, understand and communicate the values provided by urban trees. The results from i-Tree are used to advance the understanding of tree and forest resources; improve urban forest policies, planning and management; provide data to support the potential inclusion of trees within environmental regulations; and determine how trees affect the environment and consequently enhance human health and environmental quality in urban and rural areas.
Further information about the i-Tree tools can be found at: http://www.itreetools.org.
i-Tree Eco is one of the suite of tools that provides quantification of the functional services provided by urban trees. Arboriculture Australia with the support of industry partners worked with the U.S. Forest Service to customise i-Tree Eco for use in Australia.
The Melbourne Urban Forest Accord Group driven by Melbourne City Council and Arboriculture Australia™ commenced work on researching and changing the algorithms and pollution data for i-Tree ECO to make a total Victoria version which would then be expanded out to each state of Australia.
This software was originally developed by the United Stated of America Forestry Service. This is a free software program for everyone to use. Through consultation with the USF, they agreed to allow the algorithms to be amended to include Australia.
Initially the following 3 organisations contributed to start the pilot program.
- The Melbourne Urban Forest Accord Group $70,000.00
- Arboriculture Australia $10,000.00
- ENSPEC Pty Ltd $70,000.00
From the work completed to start the program by the above partners, it now costs $35,000.00, plus some in-kind work for each additional state and territory of Australia to be brought into the program.
Since the initial pilot program started, Sydney City Council also entered into the project and provided their support and funding of $35,000.00 to have the State of New South Wales and algorithms and pollution data setup.
ENSPEC further donated their time to bring the ACT into the program, due to ACT being such a small area this equated to a further $10,000.00 of value.
To date, Victoria, NSW and the ACT are fully operational under the i-Tree ECO program which allows a method to measure the Urban Tree populations Carbon Sequestration rates, Heat island and monetary value of the population.
Recently the working group was expanded and Arboriculture Australia™ has taken over as custodian of the program on behalf of the working group.
Additional players have been brought into the working group including representation from Nursery Growers Industry Association, Australian Institute of Landscape Architects, Lend lease and Brisbane City Council (QLD), Darwin City Council (NT), Paramatta City Council (NSW), Melbourne City Council (Vic), Campbelltown City Council (SA) and MUFAG.
Since the working group commenced the Nursery Growers Industry Association (NGIA) made a generous contribution of $90,000.00 to the program to assist with the completion of more algorithm and pollution data work on the i-Tree ECO program.
COUNCIL OF TREE AND LANDSCAPE APPRAISERS VALUATION METHODS
The base value for the CTLA Guide for Plant Appraisal (v9) Trunk Method is currently set at $13.00cm-2 for the whole of Australia.
Version 10 of the CTLA Guide for Plant Appraisal has been released recently and the applicability of this base value for v10 is yet to be reviewed.