Social media "key to recruiting volunteers" for London tree survey

The social media platforms of Twitter and Facebook have been key to reviving London's efforts to model its tree cover using the i-Tree package, Forestry Commission urban forestry advisor Jim Smith told a recent seminar.

Image: HW
Image: HW

The first attempt at the project by the capital's tree managers in 2012 was stymied by the Olympic Games, while in 2013 not enough volunteers came forward.

But with an initial budget of just £30,000, "this is i-Tree on a shoestring", Smith said, and admitted the project had fallen behind due to constraints on training, technical and insurance issues and "volunteer fatigue".

However 220 of an intended total of 300 volunteers have already been trained, while the US Department of Agriculture's Forest Service, which created and manages the package, has also lent its support.

The aim is to survey 725 plots across London, or one for every two sq km, amounting to "a definitive survey of London's tree and woodland canopy cover", able to provide a ecosystem service profile of London's trees and woodlands, and for trees and woodlands.

Having largely been conducted in September and October, the survey is now "pretty much complete", with processing and analysis to begin in the new year.

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