Treezilla: The Monster Map of Trees
The ViTAL project aims to expand functionality and coverage of Treezilla. ViTAL (Valuing green Infrastructure through Tree Assessment tooLs) is an Open University project funded by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) to further develop the functionality of Treezilla and make it consistent with other tree valuation tools, especially i-Tree Eco.
Specifically, this project will:
- improve Treezilla by incorporating existing data on UK urban trees;
- develop a simple automated mechanism for uploading data on multiple trees;
- improve data quality assurance within Treezilla;
- produce new education and training material;
- engage with existing and future potential Treezilla users to learn about how
Treezilla could be further improved according to their needs;
- promote tree valuation tools, including Treezilla and i-Tree Eco.
Treezilla itself, is 'the monster map of trees'. It is a citizen science platform that allows users to map trees and obtain valuations for the ecosystem services that those trees provide society. Treezilla is a partnership project between the Open University, Treeconomics and Forest Research.
It is an innovative platform for citizen science, that allows participants to learn about trees and the benefits they provide. Anyone can contribute to the 'monster map of trees' - the aim is to reach one million trees in the UK by the end of the year. Working with key stakeholders, the Treezilla partnership has also used Treezilla for adult education and with youth rangers and Tree Wardens.
The Tree Council's involvement in ViTAL was launched by piloting Treezilla working with Tree Wardens in Ewhurst at the Surrey Tree Warden AGM in June 2017. Jessica Goodenough, the project's research assistant at The Open University, gave an introduction to the science that underpins the ecosystem service calculations. The Tree Wardens then headed outside to measure the diameter at breast height and record the species of a couple of trees, demonstrating how easy it is to collect the information to input to the website. The positive feedback and the many questions received on the day will feed into a chapter on Treezilla for the Tree Warden Handbook which will be shared with Tree Wardens at this Autumn's Regional Forums.
This is part of a larger effort by The Tree Council and the rest of the tree community to value trees, as also exemplified by The Tree Charter. Treezilla enables users to assess the ecosystem benefits of any given tree in terms of: carbon taken in, pollutants removed, storm-water runoff reduced and energy saved (due to trees' role in the local climate). Treezilla is also a platform for recording more personal information about a tree, through adding photos or notes. There are also options enabling users to record tree and canopy condition, as well as the presence of pests and diseases.
Treezilla is a platform that is free to use by everyone, for learning, advocacy or research purposes. Learn more and add your local trees at www.treezilla.org
! You can also follow the project on Twitter at @Treezilla_org or get in touch with Jessica and the rest of the Treezilla team at: firstname.lastname@example.org