The results of the London iTree urban forest survey were published on the 2nd December 2015 in the House of Lords. Attending was the host Lord Framlingham, Environment Minister Rory Stewart, Sir Harry Studholme (FC Chair) and other senior representatives from London, the tree sector and the built environment sector.
A pdf copy of the report (6MB) and summary leaflet (2MB) can be downloaded. The report demonstrates the enormous value attributed to the benefits that London’s trees provide. It also highlights the need to manage existing trees and plant new ones to ensure those benefits are maintained for future generations.
London is expected to continue expanding – more people and more demands on the city’s infrastructure – so the trees and woodland of London are pivotal in ensuring it remains an attractive place to live, work and visit.
The report helps deliver a key part of the Urban Forest Vision – “Where the many benefits of trees are recognised and invested in” – which has been developed by the Urban FWAC Network.
Background to i-Tree
i-Tree is a recognised method of valuing the ecosystem service benefits such as carbon sequestration and air pollutant removal that trees provide; it was devised in the US and has been used throughout the world.
Whilst most people recognise the intrinsic beauty of London’s trees, we often don’t know or take for granted the other benefits that urban trees and woodland – which we collectively describe as the urban forest – provide to society. As a result they may be overlooked and not given the consideration or resources that they deserve.
The i-Tree project seeks to:
- promote London’s urban forest and the benefits it provides
- provide a pan London picture of tree and woodland cover
- engage volunteers in trees and further opportunities to plant and manage them
- provide verifiable economic values to the benefits that the urban forest provides
- establish values that are a pre cursor to proper asset and risk management
- establish parity between the services that the urban forest provides with other recognised urban infrastructure such as street lighting and highways
The report is the culmination of years of work and based on the field survey by volunteer teams during Summer 2014.
The project is a partnership project including Forestry Commission, Greater London Authority, London Tree Officers Association, Trees for Cities, Tree Council, Natural England and Treeconomics. Publication of the report was funded by Unilever.