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Ecosystem service assessment tools, such as the i-Tree suite of tools, use tree allometry equations to quantify and value various ecosystem services provided by an urban forest.

This work used data collected by several i-Tree Eco assessments to define the relationships between key biometric variables of urban trees (diameter at breast height – DBH, crown width and height) and investigate how those relationships change with different locations and tree species.

Future work will consider the results of this project and trees grown in rural environments.


This research started in April 2014 and is currently ongoing.

Research objectives

  • Examine how the relationships between biometric variables of urban trees (tree diameter, height and crown width) differ between locations or species
  • Evaluate which of the selected biometric variables would be more suitable for predicting the others

Research findings

The study found that mean allometric relationships between the DBH, heights and crown widths of urban trees significantly differs from one urban area to another. The relationships are influenced as much by the complex effect of environmental and management factors specific to particular urban areas, as they are by the regional climate. Common patterns of variation were only identifiable for some of the species suggesting that external factors impact on the growth of different species in different ways. The variations in relationships were found to be greater in mature trees than in younger trees.


Vaz Monteiro, M., Doick, K.J., Handley, P. (2016). Allometric relationships for urban trees in Great Britain. Urban Forestry & Urban Greening, 19, 223-236.


Madalena Vaz Monteiro

Forestry Commission policy

Climate change represents a significant threat to urban infrastructure, environmental quality and the health of city dwellers. Green infrastructure is itself at risk through greater extremes in temperature fluctuation, consequent flourishing of tree pests and diseases, drought and perceived increased risk of subsidence leading to tree removal.

There is no clear system for determining the biophysical interactions, benefits, or managing potential trade-offs within a risk-benefit context, so as to optimally support the protection and sustainable regeneration of UK towns and cities. The Urban Trees and Greenspace in a Changing Climate Programme intends to develop such a system through consolidating and building upon existing work to provide the evidence base for urban trees, definition and communication of best practice guidance, and robust assessment, evaluation and dissemination tools so that the risks and benefits of urban tree placement can be more fully assessed by society, policy makers and planners.

The Programme also maintains the centre of excellence which FR has developed over several decades on land regeneration practices to establish and maintain urban greenspaces on former brownfield and contaminated sites.

Funding & partners
  • forestry commission 2Forestry Commission

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