EAST LANSING, Mich. – The City of East Lansing has received $17,000 in Community Forestry Grant funds to be used towards a street tree inventory update and Urban Tree Canopy (UTC) assessment. The City received the funds through a competitive grant program facilitated by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and the U.S. Forest Service.
Davey Resource Group will be conducting a re-inventory of the City’s approximately 9,000 street trees, which kicked off today and will take approximately a month to complete. The group will be out in the East Lansing community in marked vehicles working to complete the re-inventory. This update and subsequent integration into the City’s geographic information system (GIS) will help ensure the inventory can be more easily updated and managed across the community.
East Lansing’s “urban forest” is also comprised of all the trees on private property. To assess the extent, distribution and trends across the entire urban forest, the City will conduct a UTC assessment, including a geospatial assessment and classification of five different land cover classes. The UTC assessment will also include an estimation of ecosystem benefits provided by community trees and a prioritized planting analysis. The planting analysis will use environmental indicators to determine where trees can be planted to maximize the benefits they provide. This data will support City efforts to optimize tree planting, understand community forestry dynamics, perform public outreach and education and develop policies that meet community goals.
“Ultimately, both the tree inventory and UTC assessment will equip us with powerful community forestry tools that will allow the City to develop a comprehensive vision and strategy for its community forest,” said East Lansing Environmental Services Administrator Cathy DeShambo. “Moreover, the raw data provided by this project will directly improve and enhance operations to care for and maintain community trees.”
Analyzed in tandem, the tree inventory and UTC data will help the City develop public support, review policies and procedures, plan operations and budget effectively for the resources needed to meet community goals.