iTree Eco Background
iTree Eco has been widely and successfully used in the USA and is a robust valuation model for the range of environmental services provided by trees. In Britain, it was first used in Torbay in 2011, with its application quickly widening and informing tree care budgets and investment decisions in cities including Edinburgh, Glasgow and London.
iTree Eco North Somerset
In 2013, North Somerset Council commissioned the Forest of Avon Trust to deliver the second iTree Eco survey in Britain and the first to use volunteers for data collection. This involved a core group of 12 volunteers surveying 169 randomly generated plots across the authority. A detailed report set out a number of important findings including that North Somerset’s trees remove harmful pollutants (CO, NO2, O3, PM10, PM2.5, SO2), with an annual average value of £1,703,650: a significant contribution to the quality of life of residents.
The North Somerset iTree Eco study has helped make a strong case for tree care budgets at a time of significant funding cuts in North Somerset. It also provided a highly effective way for the Council to engage and galvanise local people in taking practical action to care for it’s trees.
iTree Scope & Costs
The latest version of iTree Eco (6) generates an even wider range of data on the environmental services provided by an area’s tree and also information on tree health and predicted responses to pests and climate change. iTree Bristol will use this latest version of the model.
For local authorities iTree Eco 6 can inform decision making and financial planning at a time growing pressure on budgets and also Government requirements to manage NOx and other pollutants. It also provide a positive and effective way to engage and involve local people. For utilities, iTree Eco 6 can also further quantify the sustainability of their estate.