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Individual Tree Data Standard

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.

Research objectives

This project aims to establish a data standard for individual trees to:

  • Establish common-practice principles for data collection
  • Enhance the interpoperability of survey data collected in towns and cities

Latest updates

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



Individual Tree Data Standard

PDF, 1.03 MB

Standard for collection, recording, and sharing of data about individual trees