Modern GIS mapping technology combined with specialized software has vastly improved the efficiency of tree maintenance, valuation and future developmental planning, which is clearly demonstrated by Hansen’s recent campus tree survey of St. Louis Community College-Meramec.
The project was funded, in part, by a grant from the Missouri Department of Conservation’s Forestry Division. Utilizing software developed by the Colorado-based software firm, Plan-It GEO, the project mapped the precise location of more than one-thousand trees on the campus and includes customized data for each tree. This data covers basic information like species, height and canopy spread, as well as more detailed characteristics like condition, risk assessment and maintenance needs.
Overall, the survey creates a valuable treasure trove of data that can be utilized for many different purposes.
One of the coolest features of the Plan-It GEO software is the calculation of ecological benefits provided by each tree. Utilizing the iTree model, the benefit calculation combines a number of factors such as pollution removal, carbon sequestration, reduction of storm water runoff, energy savings and more to assign a dollar amount to each tree.
This number estimates the environmental value each tree provides every year, as well as the total for all trees combined. According to the survey of STLCC-Meramec, the total impact value of all trees on campus exceeds $100,000 per year!
For commercial properties, the risk of property or bodily harm caused by a falling tree limb is an insurance claim waiting to happen. Surveying all trees on the property helps you determine which trees pose the highest level of risk so that preparation and efficient work plans occur.
Additionally, the tree inventory provides maintenance and inspection recommendations, which can further help to reduce liability by advising intervals for future inspections.
A computerized inventory of trees provides the ability for property managers to track everything from basic tree maintenance and conditions to tree removal and mapping spaces for future planting.
Instructors at the campus are planning to use the inventory process and data as an educational tool for students enrolled in its Horticulture Department program. It’s another example of the college’s commitment to providing state-of-the-art tools for its students. Hansen’s is proud to be part of this project that provides invaluable information for the property managers and a useful tool to enhance the educational experience at St. Louis Community College-Meramec.
Hansen’s Urban Forestry Consulting contains a wide range of services for property managers, engineers, architects and other professionals. Homeowners can also take advantage of this expertise.