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It is estimated that 40 million trees in the UK have been surveyed and the data stored in local authority databases. Data for just 1.1 million of these trees are included in the UK’s and world’s largest open-access tree database, Treezilla.
Tree surveys are carried out for different purposes and often to different specifications. Many tree data collection protocols and methods overlap in their recommendations but differences between them make it difficult or impossible to compare, combine, or reuse data.
To address these problems in 2019 the COMMUNITREE project partners drafted a new data standard for surveys of individual trees. The steps taken to develop the data standard are described in detail in Developing the Individual Tree Data Standard.
Standardised tree data collection and recording will enable people to easily share their data so that a single dataset can be recycled for many purposes.
The Individual Tree Data Standard is a partnership between Forest Research, the Open University, and Treework Environmental Practice.
This page describes the process of developing the Individual Tree Data Standard.
This project is a partnership between Forest Research, The Open University, Treework Environmental Practice, Natural Apptitude, and Innovate UK, and has been funded by the Geospatial Commission.
This page summarises two workshops and a number of one-to-one consultations that formed part of the development of the Individual Tree Data Standard. Workshops were held in May and July 2019 at the Open University in Milton Keynes.
The workshops were attended by representatives from:
The aims of the first workshop were:
The aims of the second workshop were:
The first workshop identified the motivations and opportunities associated with establishing a standard, but also raised some barriers and constraints.
The second workshop identified different groups of data collectors and therefore users of a new tree data collection standard, including arboricultural consultancies, development organisations, members of the public/volunteers, policy makers (central and local government), managers of tree populations, academics, third sector organisations, botanic gardens and collections.
This page summarises the public consultation of the draft Individual Tree Data Standard. The draft standard was put out for two rounds of public consultation between November 2019 and February 2020. The consultation documents are available to download from the Documents section on this page.
The aims of the public consultation were:
70 individuals and organisations responded to the first round of consultation, with representation from across the sector and all four nations of the UK.
Key themes emerged from the consultation:
The responses were taken into account and several adjustments were made to the draft standard. A second round of public consultation ran from xxx to xxx.
The aims of the second round of consultation were:
18 individuals and organisations responded, representing arboricultural consultants, environmental planners, local authority tree officers and managers, botanic gardens, researchers, and non-governmental organisations.
The responses were largely positive, with 70% of the responses requiring no change to the data fields.
Key themes emerged from the consultation and were integrated into the draft standard:
Each data field in the standard was reviewed in light of the responses to the first and second public consultation. The resulting draft standard will be issued for review by independent experts and the final standard will be published in 2021.
This page describes one stage in the development of the Individual Tree Data Standard. Data variables were reviewed in existing data collection protocols, tree assessment tools, and urban tree datasets.
Data collection protocols
Tree assessment tools
Urban tree datasets
The aims of this stage were:
The 29 data fields identified in the protocols, tools and datasets, formed the basis for the first draft of the data standard. More details can be found in Review Summary spreadsheet in the Documents section, below.
This page summarises the responses to the user survey questionnaire that was drafted in the first workshop. The questionnaire sent out in the user survey is available in the Documents section, below. The survey was open to large and small businesses, national public sector organisations, local or regional public sector organisations, charities, non-governmental organisations, and individuals.
The survey posed questions designed to gather information on:
There were 23 responses to the survey. The response to each question is summarised below.
This project aims to establish a data standard for individual trees to:
The Individual Tree Data Standard is now available in the Downloads section, below.
On behalf of Forest Research the Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland (BSBI) are building a definitive list of UK tree species and their accepted taxonomic names. When completed the list will be published here, free for all to download and use, to facilitate adoption of the Standard.
Forest Research has built an online survey form to accompany the Standard. The Individual Tree Data Survey has been designed to make it easy to collect tree data that conforms to the standard.
An appropriate citation for this work is:
Handley, P., Walker, H., Ansine, J., Baden, R., Craig, I., Dewhurst-Richman, N., Doick, K. J., Fay, L., Mackie, E., Parratt, M., Perez-Sierra, A., Sparrow, K., Wheeler, P. (2021). Individual Tree Data Standard. Forest Research, Farnham. ISBN 978-1-83915-015-9.
If you have questions, comments, or suggestions relating to the Standard, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Standard for collection, recording, and sharing of data about individual trees