A city-wide tree inventory programme has recently been kicked off in the City of Richmond to prepare a comprehensive record of species, size, age or condition of around 150,000 trees located on the city’s streets and properties and parks. The inventory will use hand-held computers to record data in the city’s computerized GIS.
“The city’s goal is to plan for the care and replacement of our trees,” said Karl Pokorny, Urban Forestry Manager for the City of Richmond’s Department of Parks, Recreation and Community Facilities, in a written statement. “A good inventory is the first step toward this goal and is, in fact, a requirement of many funding sources.”
Funding for the first stage of the inventory was provided in the form of a $10,000 grant from the Historic Monument Avenue and Fan District Foundation. The Foundation funded the development of the software for the handheld computers with the $10,000 grant, which will also fund the professional inventory of all the trees in the Fan District. Some future inventories will be done by trained volunteers.
Pokorny said that Monument Avenue was a natural choice for the kickoff of the inventory not only because of its beauty and history but also because of its recent additions of new trees that have, like this first stage of the inventory, been the result of a combination of private and public funds. Funds for the new trees on Monument Avenue came from residents and from the City of Richmond through Second District Councilman William Pantele.
The City has invested substantially in its GIS system for managing geographic information and is getting ready to leverage it to provide asset management. This will require inventories of other city assets in addition to trees, such as water lines, traffic signs and signals, and curbs and gutters.
The grant from the Foundation helped pay for software developed by Karen Townsend of Urban Forest Technologies that added functions to make it possible to easily record data about each tree position and tree. Another $10,000 grant from the Virginia Department of Forestry helped fund software development, database design and the purchase of computer equipment for the project.