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Trees are fundamental components of our urban environment: they make cities more pleasant to live in, keep them cool in summer, reduce flooding, clean the air, provide homes for wildlife, and are a living connection to the past. Trees can also be a source of conflict between local authorities and their stakeholders.

In the modern knowledge-based economy, data is being collected at an ever-increasing rate. Councils collect data to effectively manage their tree stocks, while citizens engage with nature and one-another by recording and sharing their favourite trees. Currently, each uses their own system built for their specific purpose making it hard to combine data-sources to create a holistic view of the nation’s trees.

In the COMMUNITREE project we aim to create a new universal standard for collecting tree data. This will allow easy sharing of data and recycling of data for many more uses. For instance, tree maintenance data collected by councils could be reused to calculate the benefits to society from trees, to inform research into tree growth, or to plan a more enjoyable commute.

All information created as part of this project will be freely available to stakeholders to use within their own projects.

Research objectives

Specifically, the COMMUNITREE project aims to:

  • Create new standards. These will allow ready alignment of existing measurement, monitoring, and mapping data sources; and enable “collect once, use many times” approach to data collection and management
  • Developing a world-leading app and website to advance the world’s largest open tree map – Treezilla.
  • Encourage public participation in validating existing data and adding new trees. Citizen scientists will be supported in building their skills in tree identification through new guides, quizzes and feedback mechanisms. Users will be motivated through an awarded reputational status scheme.
Funding & partners
  • Geospatial Commission - Funding partner
  • Innovate UK - Funding partner
  • Logo of the Open University (OU).
  • Logo of Treework Environmental Practice.
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Quantification and valuation of benefits provided by urban trees
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Quantification and valuation of benefits provided by urban trees

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Describes the Treezilla tree mapping project

Status current