Figuring out where all the trees in Arlington are, and what species they all are sounds like a daunting task. Luckily, Urban Forestry got help from the U.S. Forest Service, with i-Tree Eco. This free program uses statistical sampling to understand the composition and value of a community’s Urban forest. Check out what we found out about Arlington’s impressive tree canopy!
How many trees?
Let’s get right to the point. Through a statistical plot measurement program, we estimate Arlington County is home to 755,400 trees. That’s about 45 trees per acre. To compare this to a natural forest, a healthy forest has about 40-60 trees. This is why we call the forest in Arlington County an urban forest. We found 122 species of trees, most of them native to Arlington.. Our state tree, the Flowering dogwood, was the most common tree found, with the Tuliptree covering the most of our overall tree canopy.
What are the environmental benefits of all these trees?
While the beauty of trees is one of the more obvious values of our urban forest, trees provide a wide range of ecosystem services. From stormwater reduction, reducing the chance of flooding, to improving our health, through filtering air pollutants and slowing down the effects of climate change through carbon sequestration and shading, these benefits were quantified by the i-Tree Eco study.
Did you know that, every year, our trees prevent 10,730,168 Cubic feet of water from flooding our community? That’s about 122 Olympic-sized swimming pools every year! That’s just one of the benefits included in the almost $7 million yearly benefits we get from trees. Check out more of them on the left.
How did we do this?
Throughout 2016, Urban Forestry staff worked with volunteers from the Tree Stewards and Master Naturalists, looking at 201 1/10 Acre plots throughout the county. We recorded information on the plot characteristics, species in the plot, sizes of trees, and their effect on the direct environment. This information was processed by the US Forest Service servers, and put in context.
Urban forestry is still analyzing much of the results, but these preliminary results are exciting for use in managing our urban forest to ensure high diversity of tree species, manage for tree care budget needs, and help communicate the value of our urban forest.
Find out more
Arlington i-Tree Eco official page: https://environment.arlingtonva.us/trees/2016-itree-eco-study/
US Forest Service page: https://www.itreetools.org/eco/