Urban Forest Management Plan

Executive Summary:

The purpose of this project is to complete the tree inventory database for the University of Washington Seattle campus and to develop a comprehensive urban forest management plan. The campus tree data currently available is incomplete and outdated, making management challenging and evaluation of tree resources impossible. The goals are to capture the ecosystem benefits provided by the urban forest, effectively manage the urban canopy, and provide a database resource for future research and educational opportunities. 

Student Involvement:

Project involvement will largely target students from the College of the Environment. Once funding approval has been established, we will coordinate with Professors David Ford and Gordon Bradley for potential curriculum involvement or internship establishment. We expect that 60% of the work will be performed by students, with a combination of both graduates and undergraduates. Tree Solutions professional arborists and UW staff will provide training to students who will be involved in all stages of the project. Specifically:

  • Students will be part of an advisory committee charged with establishing the goals and vision for the urban forest, review of the management plan, and establishing policies.
  • Students will be involved in data collection, analysis and report development through dedicated student intern positions that will be advertised through the appropriate departments.
  • Students will participate in updates/development of tree tours and other outreach information in collaboration with UW staff.
  • The dataset provided by this project will also be available for students interested in studying trees on campus.

Education & Outreach:

Our outreach goals are to raise awareness on campus and in the greater community of the tree resources on campus and efforts to sustainably manage these resources. We expect that there will be positive publicity surrounding these efforts. Tracking publicity will be one way of evaluating the extent and manner in which we are reaching an audience.

Student involvement in the entire process will be a form of outreach that we expect to spread beyond the participants as they share their experiences with other students and members of the greater community.

Much of the information resulting from this project will be available through interactive websites. Measuring visitation to the Brockman Tree Tour, Native Tree Tour and tree information websites will be one way of evaluating the extent to which we reach an audience.

  • We will update the University of Washington, Facilities Services, Grounds Operations and Capital  Projects Office websites with information about the project and will submit content for the Environmental Stewardship and Sustainability website.
  • We will contact campus media such as The Daily, UW Today & Weekly and UWTV.
  • We will also notify a diverse group of University departments that will impact the greatest number of students (i.e. ASUW, SAO), so that they can share information about student opportunities through their list serves and newsletters.
  • We also have the resources to hang banners around campus that will identify, educate and publicize this project that is being supported by the Campus Sustainability Fund.
  • Staff and volunteers that are in the field will wear clothing that will identify whom they are associated with and what they are doing around the University campus for the next 3 to 6 months.
Environmental Impact:
  • Living Systems and Biodiversity
Project Longevity:

Environmental Problem:

The urban tree management plan will be a tool that facilitates increased sustainable management of the trees on campus. Ecological/environmental services (such as carbon sequestration, biodiversity, reduction of energy use, etc) provided by the trees will be quantified. A benchmark of the current status of the urban forest will inform specific management goals. Areas of preservation importance as well as potential improvement to the urban forest will be identified by parameters such as canopy cover and biodiversity. According to the US Forest Service Center for Urban Forest Research (http://www.fs.fed.us/psw/programs/cufr/), urban trees provide the following ecologic and economic benefits:

  • reduced energy use by shading and insulating areas around buildings
  • improve air quality and sequester carbon by filtering air borne pollutants and removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere
  • improve water quality and reduce flooding by intercepting rainfall and reducing stormwater runoff and erosion

Explain how the impacts will be measured:

Data gathered from this project will provide a benchmark of these impacts as the urban forest now functions. One of the goals of the management plan will be to sustain and increase the quantifiable impacts. These will be measured by maintaining the database of tree information and utilizing iTree software for impact analysis. Kava Vale, a graduate student in the School of Forest Resources, is already leading this effort. iTree is a tool that aids in calculation of urban forest canopy cover, diversity and structure, as well as measurements of its environmental value in terms of carbon sequestration, air quality improvement, energy savings, and stormwater reduction runoff among other parameters.

The management plan will identify impact goals. Data gathered through this project will provide a benchmark of current impacts and will be used to set future goals. Current trends in the urban forest, such as reduction of tree canopy, will be compared to future trends. Data gathered and the subsequent management plan will be shared and used by a number of campus departments, including Facility Services, Capital Projects, and academics. The data and the plan will also be important for streamlining regulatory procedures related to the management of the urban forest on campus.

Total amount requested from the CSF: $63,760
This funding request is a: Grant
If this is a loan, what is the estimated payback period?:


Personnel & Wages
Students Estimated $18,600
ConsultantEstimated $42,690
General Supplies & Other
Signs and brochures for Brockman Tree Tour and Native Tree TourEstimated $2,470

Non-CSF Sources:

Source/DescriptionAmount Requested
FS & CPO Staff Salaries$23,500
CPO Matching Funds $40,260
Project Completion Total:


TaskTimeframeEstimated Completion Date
Start Date/Begin Funds(Includes Pro Staff Hours**)(March 28, 2011)
 Field work 600 hours**June 10, 2011
Data input, classification & planning(Includes Pro Staff Hours**)
 Analysis 214 hours July 1, 2011
 Creation of the Urban Forest Management Plan400 hours**August 19, 2011
 Brockman & Native Tree Tour360 hours** September 23, 2011
Completion Date/End Funds(September 23, 2011)
Submit final report to CSFSeptember 26, 2011

Project Approval Forms: