The Resource page is the jumping off point for all of the information out there on about trees and urban forests. We don’t claim to know everything there is to know about the subject, but we’ll try to help you connect to those who do.
How to Identify the Species of Your Tree
Urban Tree Key: One tricky aspect to adding trees to Greenprint Maps is identifying the species. In the near future, the Urban Forest Ecosystems Institute will create an online key to the 200 most common species in California. It will be a great help to all of us who love trees and want to learn to recognize the different species. In the meantime, we suggest checking out the Urban Tree Key. It’s San Francisco focused, but should help with many of our Central Valley trees.
We also highly recommend Matt Ritter’s book A Californian’s Guide to the Trees Among Us. It’s packed with information, great photos, and a key for identification.
How to Measure the Diameter of Your Tree's Trunk
The other tricky part of entering a tree on GreenprintMaps is measuring the diameter of its trunk. It's tricky, but really important (it's the basis for calculating the eco impact of the tree and critical for understanding the diversity of the urban forest). So we created a video to help answer your questions, like: Isn't it easier to measure the circumference? What if the tree has more than one trunk? What if it's covered in ivy? How far up the tree do I measure?
Our favorite links
Urban Ecosystems and Processes team (UEP) (formerly the Center for Urban Forest Research)
UEP, a unit of the US Forest Service, is the leading research institute studying the environmental benefits of urban forests. They have been working for nearly two decades to quantify and monetize the ecosystem services of trees. Their website is the go-to place for information on ways to maximize tree benefits, the latest in urban forestry research, the role of trees in fighting global climate change, tree animations, and tools to help with all of this. Don't forget to sign up for their News Briefs to stay on top of the news.
California Urban Forest Council
The California Urban Forest Council is a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting urban forestry to improve communities. This is achieved through programs to improve air quality, conserve and protect water, improve quality of life and contribute beauty to California. Initiatives include:
- advocacy and support for public policy and government action that supports holistic ecosystems and encourages the development of policies and practices to sustain such systems
- creation of educational materials that offer research, professional expertise and contemporary knowledge to empower California residents to participate actively in urban forestation
- development and support for successful local, regional and state-wide urban forestry programs, projects and organizations.
Soil Born Farms
Soil Born Farms allows youth and adults to rediscover and participate in a system of food production and distribution that promotes healthy living, nurtures the environment and brings people together to share the simple pleasures of living life in harmony with nature. Soil Born Farms is committed to developing programming focused on organic food production, healthy food education and food access for all residents.
Alliance for Community Trees
ACT is the only national organization solely focused on the needs of those engaged in urban forestry. Their work is improving the environment where 80% of Americans live and work: our cities, towns, and villages.
California ReLeaf's mission is to empower grassroots efforts and build strategic partnerships that preserve, protect, and enhance California's urban and community forests.
National Arbor Day Foundation
No tree website would be complete without mention of the Arbor Day Foundation. Their mission is to inspire people to plant, nurture, and celebrate trees, work they have done for nearly four decades.
Human Dimensions of Urban Forestry and Urban Greening at the University of Washington
On the Urban Forest Map, we have concentrated (so far) on the presenting the more tangible benefits that trees provide. At the University of Washington under the guidance of Dr. Kathleen Wolf, they are looking at the more "human dimensions" of urban forestry. Their website is a treasure trove of information about the role of trees in civic society.
Our favorite tools
SelecTree is an interactive tree selection website developed by the Urban Forest Ecosystems Institute at Cal Poly. The goal is to help select the right tree species for a specific site. Users can select for native trees, trees fit for growing under powerlines, trees that attract bees and other wildlife, flowers or leaves of a specific color, disease resistance and many other traits. This is truly one of our favorite sites for information on trees--don't miss this one!
iTree is a state-of-the-art, peer-reviewed software suite from the U.S. Forest Service that allows communities of all sizes to strengthen their urban forest management and advocacy efforts by quantifying the environmental services that trees provide and assessing the structure of the urban forest. The environmental benefit data presented in the Urban Forest Map comes directly from iTree Streets.
If you're interested in estimating and predicting the amount of carbon stored in a tree as well as the reduced amounts of carbon in the atmosphere due to the energy conserving contribution of trees, the CTCC is the tool for you. The CTCC (Center for Urban Forest Research Tree Carbon Calculator) was developed by the U.S. Forest Service's Center for Urban Forest Research for use with the Urban Forest Project Protocol, which allows entities to receive carbon offsets for planting trees. For more information on the Protocol, visit Climate Action Reserve.
National Tree Benefits Calculator
The NTBC is an online tool that uses information from iTree to calculate the benefits of individual trees.
CITYgreen is GIS software to analyze the ecological and economic benefits of tree canopy and other green space.
- What if I don't know what species my tree is?
- What if my species isn't one of the options?
- How do I measure the trunk diameter of my tree?
- Where does the Eco Impact data come from?
- Why does the map cover the area that it does?
- What does it mean to be open-source?
- Why do you ask questions about things like sidewalk damage and utility lines?
- Why are some of my changes marked as "pending?"
- Sure, I like trees, but what good is all this? Why should I participate?
- I would really like to build a similar project in my city. What can I do to get started?
- I'm a software developer and I have a cool idea for an iPhone app or a plug-in. Can I participate?
What if I don't know what species my tree is?
Your first stop should be the Urban Tree Key. Run through the Key and check out the Resources page there for more help. We also highly recommend the book, A Californian’s Guide to the Trees Among Us. If that doesn't help, but you can determine the genus of the tree (i.e., you know it's a maple, but you're not sure which one), you can enter just that. If you simply have no idea, go ahead and add the tree location to the map anyway. If you can upload pictures of the leaves, flowers, and fruits, that will help someone come behind you and fill in the gaps. Visit the Urban Tree Key »
What if my species isn't one of the options?
GreenprintMaps currently includes several hundred species, but it is certainly not exhaustive. Drop us a line if yours isn't on the list and we'll add it as quickly as possible. (This takes a bit of time because new species have to be incorporated into the ecosystem services matrix.)
How do I measure the trunk diameter of my tree?
This can be kind of tricky and there are all sorts of possible permutations (trunks covered in ivy, trunks with bumps), so we created a video to walk you through it.
Where does the Eco Impact data come from?
All of the numbers and dollar values for the ecosystem services trees provide comes from the Center for Urban Forest Research's iTree Streets software tool. For more information, visit CUFR and the iTree Tools.
Why does the map only cover the area that it does?
The Sacramento Tree Foundation’s Greenprint Initiative covers the six counties of Yolo, Yuba, Sacramento, Sutter, Placer and El Dorado. GreenprintMaps mirrors this area as we work with local jurisdictions and community partners in the 22 cities and 6 counties of the region.
What does it mean to be open-source?
Well, the term open-source means a lot of things to a lot of people, but here we mean it as widely as possible: the data, the software source code, and the website html/css code are licensed under the GNU General Public License (GPL) copyright terms. They are all freely available to anyone. All that is required is that you agree to follow the terms of the GPL license. For more information, Visit the GNU. You can download the source code from Github.
Why do you ask questions about things like sidewalk damage and utility lines?
The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection offers grants to communities for conducting tree inventories and they require certain information to be included. We think (and they agree) that the GreenprintMaps is a good tool both for doing the inventories and for maintaining the data, so we have included any fields they require.
Why are some of my changes marked as "pending?"
Some of our data is “official,” that is, it comes from entities like the Sacramento Tree Foundation or a city agency. These organizations get final approval of changes to their data before it’s displayed on the GreenprintMaps. For trees entered by the general public, all edits are accepted immediately.
Sure, I like trees, but what good is all this? Why should I participate?
You'll be taking a critical step to improve our urban environment and make our region a more green and liveable place. The information added to GreenprintMaps will be used by urban forest managers, landscape architects, and planners to plan for future growth and planting opportunities, improve wildlife habitat, maximize ecosystem services, and grow a strong and healthy urban forest. While you're helping achieve those goals, you'll also be helping make your own environment better.
I would really like to build a similar project in my city. What can I do to get started?
Drop us a line and we'll help you figure out the best way to move forward.
I'm a software developer and I have a cool idea for an iPhone app or a plug-in. Can I participate?
We would love to have your contribution. If you just want to make use of the data, download it from the map results. You can download the source code from Github.
Our database of trees comes from public records and citizen foresters like you. Add a tree today and help us grow!