i-Tree News Article

Workshop on i-Tree ECO V 6.0.3 in México

Sponsored by the Mexican Association of Arboriculture (AMA/ISA)
Held in the Universidad Autónoma de Chapingo, on Feb 17 and 18, 2017
Given By: Horacio de la Concha

A first-of-its-kind workshop on the use of i-Tree Eco for Mexico inventories took place earlier this year in Texcoco, about 20 miles northeast of Mexico City. The objective was to present the basic steps, instructions, and methods to allow the participants to conduct an urban forest assessment using the i-Tree Eco tool. This also served as an opportunity to reduce the learning curve associated with this tool, opening the door to more urban forest practitioners conducting Eco assessments.

To show the attendees the software's potential we used two ongoing projects in Mexico - one in the city of Merida and the other one in Playa Del Carmen. There were 15 attendees from a number of cities: Mexico City and its surroundings, Leon, Guadalajara, Merida, and Queretaro. All attendees were certified arborists interested in fostering and promoting the benefits of urban forests. We were able to cover every step of the process and complete the final pilot i-Tree Eco Analysis for the Chapingo campus, and we had time to give the new Forecast module a try.

Most of the attendees already knew how to measure and evaluate trees and were familiar with the methodology used to gather this data, therefore the instructional portion of the workshop was focused exclusively on the incorporation of data into the Eco tool. The campus is 40 ha in area, which was divided into 4 strata, two of 8 ha and two of 12 ha, with 24 plots randomly placed using the Google map option on the project configuration tab in the Eco software. The plots were set at a 10 m radius and we collected 10 of the possible 53 data fields that the new flexibility of i-Tree Eco accommodates. This flexibility, along with great weather and the expertise of the attendees, allowed us to finish all measurements with 5 teams in one afternoon, input the data, and submit it for processing. The following day we were able to analyze the information, which indicated there are approximately 2,605 trees in the Chapingo campus with a tree cover of 28.3%. We also learned that Fraxinus, Pinus and Thuja are the most common genera in our study area and that the size/age of the trees is mostly big/mature, with only 10.6% of the population having a diameter at breast height below 15 cm. The average number of trees per hectare is 64 with the area that encompasses the dorm having a much lower number of trees per hectare.

Finally, several conditions were proposed by the attendees for simulation within the Forecast module of Eco. Different scenarios for the future, considering the mature nature of the campus trees, were evaluated and there was a consensus that this feature is highly valuable for planning and budgeting. A cost benefit analysis was not conducted, but we were able to see the potential for managers to use this option as a basis to discuss serious improvements in the care of urban forests.