Urban Forestry Software Used for UMSL Tree Inventory & Analysis of Campus Trees

    By Kathleen Berger

    On the University of Missouri-St. Louis campus, all 2,361 trees are fully assessed and identified.  UMSL ended 2018 with an inventory of campus trees. UMSL Grounds Supervisor, Gregory Ward, said tree inventories help land managers create appropriate and proactive plans for tree care.

    Ward obtained a Missouri Department of Conservation TRIM grant for the inventory. The Tree Resource Improvement and Maintenance (TRIM) grant provided funding for TreeKeeper Inventory Management Software by Davey Resource Group.

    Reid Gibson, Project Manager for Davey Resource Group, captured 2,361 trees after he walked the campus for several days in November 2018. From pin oaks, crab apples, sweet gums and more, Gibson recorded 53 tree varieties.

    “Tree inventories used to be all paper and pencil. If you wanted to find a tree you had to look through pages and pages, maybe find it or maybe not,” said Gibson. “Now everything is digitized and online. You have a database and you search for specific trees.”

    UMSL’s tree inventory is now available to the public through Davey TreeKeeper online: https://univofmostl.treekeepersoftware.com.

    Anyone on campus wondering about a particular tree can stop where they are and use the TreeKeeper link that directly takes them to a map of UMSL. Using the map, the user can find their location. Every dropped pin on the campus map is the exact location of a tree and contains information about the tree from the inventory.

    While the TreeKeeper technology can be an educational tool for students,

    Ward said it helps with the maintenance and health of UMSL’s tree population.

    Ward said the trees add beauty and play a role removing particulate matter from the environment.

    He explained how TreeKeeper works well with i-Tree software fromthe USDA Forest Service, helping Ward assess overall benefits of campus trees.

    Based on the inventory, the eco benefits of campus trees for UMSL amount to $141,781.10 per year.

    “We now have real data telling us what this tree is doing for us in terms of eco benefits and monetary value. Everything from the ground up, including the estimated canopy coverage,” said Ward.

    The software tallied eco benefits of campus trees, providing monetary values, in several categories to include: greenhouse gas benefits; water; energy; air quality and property benefits.

    Ward said he has plans to use TreeKeeper to develop applications for self-guided campus tree tours, such as a mature oak tour and a spring flowering tree tour.