ViTAL (Valuing green Infrastructure through Tree Assessment tooLs): aligning Treezilla to i-Tree Eco in the UK


This project aims to expand the functionality and coverage of “Treezilla”, through the ViTAL project.

Treezilla is ‘the monster map of trees’.  It is a citizen science platform that allows users to map trees and obtain valuations for the ecosystem services that those trees provide to society. Treezilla is a partnership project between the Open University, Treeconomics and Forest Research. 

ViTAL (Valuing green Infrastructure through Tree Assessment tooLs) is an Open University project funded by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) to further develop the functionality of Treezilla and make it consistent with other tree valuation tools, especially i-Tree Eco. Treeconomics and Forest Research are ViTAL project partners

i-Tree Eco is a software application to quantify the structure and environmental effects of urban trees, and calculate their value to society. For further information on i-Tree Eco, visit i-Tree Eco or i-Tree in the UK.

So far, over 50,000 trees are mapped into Treezilla from across the UK; there is a great potential to expand its coverage.  Forest Research will work with the OU and Treeconomics to deliver the ViTAL project.

Specifically, this project will:

  • improve Treezilla by incorporating existing data on UK urban trees;
  • develop a simple automated mechanism for uploading data on multiple trees;
  • improve data quality assurance within Treezilla;
  • produce new education and training material;
  • engage with existing and future potential Treezilla users to learn about how Treezilla could be further improved according to their needs;
  • promote tree valuation tools, including Treezilla and i-Tree Eco.

Research objectives

To develop Treezilla for individuals and organisations to carry out valuations of ecosystem services provided by UK trees;

  • To integrate Treezilla with other tree valuation tools, to ensure consistency between tools;
  • Increase the use of tree-based green infrastructure (GI) valuations.

Funders and partners

This work is funded by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) under grant number NE/N017927/1.

With additional support provided by the Forestry Commission

Forestry Commission policy

Climate change represents a significant threat to urban infrastructure, environmental quality and the health of city dwellers. Green infrastructure is itself at risk through greater extremes in temperature fluctuation, consequent flourishing of tree pests and diseases, drought and perceived increased risk of subsidence leading to tree removal.

There is no clear system for determining the biophysical interactions, benefits, or managing potential trade-offs within a risk-benefit context, so as to optimally support the protection and sustainable regeneration of UK towns and cities. The Urban Trees and Greenspace in a Changing Climate Programme intends to develop such a system through consolidating and building upon existing work to provide the evidence base for urban trees, definition and communication of best practice guidance, and robust assessment, evaluation and dissemination tools so that the risks and benefits of urban tree placement can be more fully assessed by society, policy makers and planners.

The Programme also maintains the centre of excellence which FR has developed over several decades on land regeneration practices to establish and maintain urban greenspaces on former brownfield and contaminated sites.

Urban trees and greenspace in a changing climate


The ViTAL project commenced in February 2016 and is due to run until 2018.

Related Resources

Open University


Kieron Doick