Sophisticated technology will prevent city officials in U.S. city Weston from going out on a limb if a hurricane hits. If trees are knocked over by wind, officials won’t have to guess the species and exactly where to replace them. By September 2006, the city will have a database of every tree with a trunk of at least 3 inches. That’s about 75,000 to 100,000 trees. While the city began counting trees informally late last year, the project went into high gear this month after the state agreed to pay half the $70,706 cost.
One crew is in the process of using a laser beam and a GPS, to pinpoint the exact location of each tree on a computerized map. Another crew will use a GIS, to insert tree information on the map, including the species, height, trunk diameter, size of the spread, condition and potential hazards. It also will show which trees need attention. Trees are such an important part of Weston that the city considers the expense worthwhile. The information will make managing the city’s urban forest more efficient. It will help schedule pruning and fertilizing and, after a hurricane, will provide proof to the Federal Emergency Management Agency so the city can be reimbursed.