Springfield Tree Inventory to Assess Population, Value

Oct 20, 2013

Over the next few weeks you might see white city trucks in your neighborhood studying some of the local trees.  Just exactly what are they doing, and why is this so important to Springfield?  KSMU’s Theresa Bettmann explains.

On a crisp fall day, the sun shines brightly in the clear sky.  Under shades of the city’s various trees stand city workers reviewing inventory data as part of a city-wide tree inventory. Casey Kellner is the urban forester with Springfield Public Works.

“The purpose of the tree inventory has two major components.  One is so that we can identify where maintenance is needed the most and then get our crews in those areas.  Then secondly, and possibly more importantly, it quantifies the value of our street tree resource.  We will get a monetary value for the street tree population, and also a storm water value of what contribution those trees make on an annual basis,” Kellner say.

Kellner explains that Springfield works together with private contractors to complete the tree inventory. The last city-wide complete inventory was conducted in 2001, with updates since then including the 2007 ice storm.   

Only city-owned trees in the right-of-way or on certain other city-owned properties will be inventoried.  Kellner explains these are typically found in the green spaces between private property and sidewalks.  The vital information collected about the approximately 20,000 trees include location, species, condition, risk rating and growth space. These factors are important for determining overall value.

“Knowing the monetary value of our tree resource is really important, and I think it’s estimated at somewhere around 40 million dollars.  It’s important for us to know what that value is, and also it helps me to secure funding and support to continue our tree programs.  Trees are one of the only resources the city has that actually goes up in value,” says Kellner.

Kellner adds these trees are one of Springfield’s greatest resources.

“Trees do so much for our community than just provide us with those monetary type values and resources.  Trees put in the right location can cause traffic calming, so you have people that drive slower.  Tree lined streets are more walkable.  And so the aesthetic beauty, people just enjoy a pretty tree.  There are just things socially and economically that the trees do for us,” says Kellner.

The tree inventory is scheduled to be completed in late November.