Melbourne’s urban forest is critical infrastructure in our city, providing environmental, social and economic benefits that help to create a thriving city. But exactly how valuable are these benefits?

In this Australian-first citizen science project, we will undertake a detailed assessment of the City of Melbourne’s urban forest to understand and quantify the benefits. Using the i-Tree Eco assessment method, this analysis will provide a more accurate valuation of Melbourne’s urban forest than previous estimations.

In 2013, Citizen Foresters helped the City of Melbourne to pilot the use of citizen science to carry out i-Tree Eco assessments. We will now build on this work to complete an assessment of the entire City of Melbourne urban forest.


What is i-Tree Eco?

i-Tree Eco is a software application designed to use field data from randomly located plots throughout a study area to quantify forest structure, environmental effects and value to communities. The software also uses local hourly air pollution and meteorological data to ensure robust analysis.

i-Tree Eco was developed by the United States Forestry Service and has been adapted for Australian conditions. You can learn more on the i-Tree website.


Activity details

Citizen Forester volunteers will work with specialist Survey Leaders to collect field data from randomly located plots throughout the City of Melbourne. Data collection will involve taking measurements of vegetated and non-vegetated areas, recording details about trees and shrubs, and entering information into i-Tree via a web-browser on a mobile device or paper data sheets.


No previous knowledge or experience is required to participate in this activity. All equipment will be provided.

Citizen Foresters who sign up for the i-Tree Eco activity will be required to attend one two-hour training session:

Session 1

Wednesday 21 December

12:00pm - 2:00pm

Council House 2, 240 Little Collins Street

Or

Session 2

Tuesday 17 January

1:00pm - 3:00pm

Council House 2, 240 Little Collins Street

In the training session volunteers will learn about i-Tree Eco and how the data collection process works, before going out into the field and practicing data collection.


How to get involved

Citizen Foresters can register their interest in participating in the i-Tree Eco urban forest assessment by contacting the team at melbourneurbanforest@melbourne.vic.gov.au. To view dates when you can participate, click the calendar document on the right hand side of the screen. Simply email the team with the dates you would like to join in on.

Please note that you must be registered as a Citizen Forester in order to participate in this activity.