Project link : photosynq.org/projects/tree-health-calculator-1-0
How do you measure tree health? The current arborist standard is a Visual Tree Assessment. A VTA is a visual observation based on knowledge and experience used to assess the physical condition and structural integrity of trees in the landscape. The condition of the tree is defined as good, fair, poor or dead. This provides only very limited information to assess the functional state and value of the tree. With the recent introduction of new technology chlorophyll measurements are now taken as part of the VTA in countries such as the UK. The question remains: does this adequately measure tree health?
Over two years ago, Global Urban Forest was invited to test and use a new measurement tool and plant health analysis platform by Michigan State University called PhotosynQ.
G.U.F ‘s Matthew Daniel became part of the PhotosynQ’s Experts Program and was flown to the USA to meet with the Team and provide workshops with the USDA, New Yorks Parks Department and Prospect Park staff.
The PhotosynQ platform and the G.U.F TREE HEALTH CALCULATOR 1.0 may well revolutionise how trees are measured, understood and managed in Urban Forest’s globally. Already, this new way of monitoring tree health seems to be an aid in demystifying the understanding of plant health through detailed canopy function measurement. It has real potential to provide a solid framework to support the case for financial funding required to build cities within forests – or forests within cities.
Quantifying Urban Forest – Tree/ Soil Health and Function and Embracing Community Engagement Citizen Science
Understanding Tree Health and Soil Health can go far beyond the: “I Think It looks Healthy or Ok”? What does that actually mean? Is there any repeatable measure’s that can be used to determine tree health?
Urban Forestry is recognised as an essential component to future cities by reducing the impacts of climate change, increasing the livability of urban sectors throughout the globe and offering a low-cost approach to sequestering atmospheric CO2 through tree and soil function. However, only healthy trees growing in healthy soil conditions provide the benefits promoted. Determining a healthy tree is currently a subjective exercise based on human prescription of Arboricultural Visual Tree Assessments.
This TREE HEALTH CALCULATOR project seeks to develop a more detailed assessment tool which includes quantifiable measures of individual trees, capable of providing real-time feedback of both tree canopy and soil health. Furthermore, this assessment tool, the Tree Health Calculator, will be built on an open data platform where it will be publicly available to the global community of residents through to professional Arborists to contribute to, visualize, analyze and share and build onto a tool that will be utilized by future generations to effectively manage the environment within quantifiable, holistic, rules and principals.
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