By Hannah Kett, Cities Program Manager at The Nature Conservancy and Daria Gosztyla, Urban Forestry Projects & Outreach Specialist at Washington State Dept. of Natural Resources

Funding from the USDA Forest Service Urban Forestry Program, administered through the Washington State Department of Natural Resources Urban and Community Forestry Program, supported The Nature ConservancyDavey Resource GroupAmerican Forests and City Forest Credits to collaborate in developing a suite of new resources for urban trees, including a high-resolution urban canopy assessment for Central Puget Sound. Each tool was introduced in a series of recorded webinars that can teach your community how to utilize the resource.

Anyone can access these tools – as well as engage with the partners behind the effort to learn more. Here is a quick look at the tools and opportunities for further engagement:

iTree Landscape: iTree Landscape is host to the new high-resolution urban tree canopy data within the urban growth areas of Pierce, King and Snohomish counties. Within the tool, you can explore tree canopy, land cover and information about the ecosystem benefits provided by the tree canopy. The tool helps you compare different areas as well as highlight specific ecosystem values to help prioritize urban tree canopy efforts. Davey Resource Group led a webinar focused on the function and uses of these data rich tool.  View the recording.

A look at the high-resolution tree canopy cover of Kent, Wash. Users from all over Puget Sound can zoom in for even more detail Source: itreelandscape.com

Tree Equity Score: Though trees in our cities and towns produce multiple benefits for people and nature, these benefits are not equitably distributed and accessible. The Tree Equity Score, developed by American Forests, explores the alignment between tree canopy, surface temperature, income, employment, race, age and health. The tool has incorporated the high-resolution tree canopy data produced by Davey Resource Group for the Central Puget Sound Region’s urban areas. American Forests provided an interactive demonstration of the tool for to support prioritization and planning through a social equity lens.  View the recording.  

Climate Tree Species Guide: Our region will continue to experience increased impacts from climate change, and it’s important that we are planting with these impacts in mind.  The Northern Institute of Applied Climate Science developed a tree species selection guide based on anticipated climate change impacts in the Puget Sound Region. NIACS shared more about the development of this guide through a webinar (View the recording). The final guide will be available fall 2022.

A look at the Tree Equity Score map focused on Kent, Wash. By selecting a Census Block group, you can pull up additional information about the score. Source: treeequityscore.org

City Forest Credits: As urban areas seek to plant and preserve trees, a consistent barrier is supporting the long-term maintenance of these trees. City Forest Credits is a national non-profit that is providing new tools for private-sector dollars to support planting and protecting trees in urban areas. During the webinar, City Forest Credits explored how urban tree planting and preservation efforts can generate carbon credits. View the recording.

The next scheduled event focuses on using these tools and will be a hands-on workshop on October 20 from 12:30pm to 2:30pm. Through this interactive workshop, scenarios for prioritizing urban tree canopy management and building connections with other urban tree practitioners will be discussed. Experts in the use of iTree Landscape, Tree Equity Score, and City Forest Credits will be on hand to answer questions about how these tools can support efforts to maximize the benefits of tree canopy for the health of people and ecosystems. Registration for this session is limited. If you’re interested in securing your spot please email Daria.Gosztyla@dnr.wa.gov.

If you have questions about the new tools or recordings, or would like to more directly engaged with ongoing efforts of this project, please reach out to Hannah Kett, Cities Program Manager at The Nature Conservancy: hannah.kett@tnc.org