Designing an i-Tree Eco project


This page provides overview guidance on the design phase of an i-Tree Eco survey. Full guidance is available in the i-Tree Eco v6 manual, available as free download at:

Research objectives

Designing your i-Tree Eco survey should include the following stages:

  • Project description: Agree and state the project brief and objectives in collaboration with project delivery partners, agree the project area and the number of plots to be surveyed (typically 200-250), prepare a project timeline, draft the budget in agreement with budget holders. Give detailed consideration to the audiences and uses of the final report and how it will be disseminated.
  • Identify the types of data to collect: There are a number of parameters in i-Tree that are optional or can be altered on a project specific basis (see manual). Examples include:  what size trunk diameter counts as a tree? (Typically > 7 cm DBH). What counts as a shrub? (Typically > 1m height). Will pest damage will be recorded?
  • Identify a sampling method: Sampling plot locations can be identified via random, stratified or randomized grid methods in in i-Tree Eco. The manual provides instructions to guide your decision making.  Studies conducted by FR and partnership typically use randomized grid.
  • Planning the survey: Agree plot locations, create a map and sample points (typically in ArcMap or similar software). Create and print field data collection sheets (or utilise our template). Create GPS waypoints and print aerial photographs for each plot location to guide the field-crew and help them locate the exact centre of the plot.
  • Survey preparation: Obtain and prepare equipment and organise dates and finalise schedule, this may include careful liaison with volunteer survey crews. The project partnership should also prepare and issue letters to residents/the owners of land with plots, these letters should contain logos of all project partners. Issuing letters prevents cold-calling - it informs land owners of the project’s aims and objectives and increases willingness of owners to participate by granting access to their land.


Help with designing your i-Tree Eco survey can be found at the following:

US i-Tree website

US technical support team

FAQ section

Funders and partners

This work is funded 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.  This will enable society, policy makers and planners to more fully assess the risks and benefits of urban trees.

The programme also maintains the Centre of Excellence which Forest Research 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


This project is ongoing.


Kieron Doick

Useful sites