UW Campus Tree Inventory '98

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Cat is up in the tree!!!! Project Proposal and Study Design

"We are stewards of the land."

"We all have an individual responsibility to take care of the campus because we use its resources. One of the resources on campus that we use & benefit from, are the trees."

Campus Tree Inventory Team' 98



Introduction to Problem Statement

    The purpose of performing a tree inventory is to provide the information necessary to enhance the University of Waterloo’s social and ecological community, and determine a more sustainable land-use strategy. The campus has maintained a tree community since the construction of the institution in 1958.

    The tree inventory provides detailed information on the tree species located on campus. This information will be useful to the Plant Operations Department in maintaining the campus urban forest. It will aid in the creation of a land-use strategy, which will provide a more sustainable tree community. A user-friendly database will then be the basis for a regularly up-dated inventory.

    At the same time, we hope that the information will help us to discover the attributes that trees bring to the campus. We will research social (aesthetics, educational, spiritual), ecological (microclimate, habitat, pollution control), and economic functions of the urban forest on campus.


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Project Objectives

Our primary objective, as previously stated, is to make recommendations for a more sustainable urban forest management strategy.  To achieve this objective, we discuss the ecological, social and economic functions of our urban forest, and determine criteria to monitor integrity.   We also inventory the current campus biophysical ecological community, and identify and plot all tree species present within the northern portion of Ring Road.


    A. To determine the ecological needs of the UW urban forest

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    B. To explore the social needs of the UW community

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     C. Economical Functions

The economic benefits of providing an urban forest on campus include reducing heating and cooling costs, and reduction of energy demands.

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     D. Inventory of the trees on campus - The tree community within the northern portion of Ring Road. This will meet the needs of  Plant Operations and assist them in tree maintenance on campus.

        The Needs of Plant Operations - Tree Inventory

We have collected the following information:

*All of this information will assist Plant Operations in keeping the campus looking beautiful and help to improve the overall health of the trees.

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      E. Biophysical Requirements

We feel it is important in developing maintenance strategies, that the individual needs of the trees be understood.   Aspects which should be considered include soil and moisture requirements, tolerance to salt and pollution, rate of growth, habitat, limitations, and common pests.

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    F. Discuss how these factors contribute to the Ecological Integrity of an urban forest

Discussing ecological integrity will give us a method of analyzing the urban forest as a whole.  To do this, certain criteria will be determined to assess integrity.

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Methodology of Achieving Objectives

leaf2.gif (1633 bytes)Methodology for Objective A - Ecological Functions

Ecological benefits of trees on campus, such as attracting wildlife and the creation of microclimate, were observed and experienced while conducting the tree inventory.  We further researched the ecological functions of trees via the internet, journal articles and books.  From this research, we discovered numerous ecological functions but decided to focus on only a few.  The aspects we looked at, in terms of ecological functions, include the prevention of soil erosion, the creation of microclimates, reduction of airborne pollutants and the attraction of wildlife.

leaf2.gif (1633 bytes)Methodology for Objective B - Social Functions

We further explored the social needs of the students and staff on campus, and researched how these needs could be met by trees.  A case study was a useful method of meeting this objective.

leaf2.gif (1633 bytes)Methodology for Objective C - Economic Functions

It is important to plant appropriate tree species, in appropriate places for various economic reasons.  By providing shade to buildings for example, cooling costs can be reduced during the summer months.  Again, to determine the economic functions we will have to research the benefits of having an urban forest on campus.

leaf2.gif (1633 bytes)Methodology for Objective D - Tree Inventory

    In order to achieve Objective D, a survey of the trees on campus was carried out. A map of the study area was enlarged to allow tree surveyors to plot the location of each tree. The enlarged maps were broken down into four sections or quadrants. We inventoried the two quadrants on the north campus, labeled Quad. A and Quad. B.   This strategy aided in the organization and presentation of the collected data.

    Our group was divided in to two tree survey , each with three members.  The initial tree survey groups are as follows:

The data criteria of each tree are as follows:

  1. Location on map - a quadrant/number designation system. ex tree number 23 in quadrant A will be designated as QA-23.)
  2. Taxonomic Name
  3. Common name
  4. Native/Exotic
  5. Diameter at Breast Height (D.B.H.)
  6. Visual Determination of Health
  7. Visual Notes: This can range from visual health of the tree to other notable aspects such as location and use.

One member in each group mapped the location and D.B.H of the trees, while the other group members identified and documented visual notes on the tree. The collected data:

1. were inputted into a database using Microsoft Access and into a spreadsheet using Microsoft Excel.

2.  A final copy of the quadrant maps was created using Corel Photo-Paint  8. These files were integrated onto the Campus Tree Inventory web site.

leaf2.gif (1633 bytes)Methodology for Objective E - Biophysical Requirements

We created a record of the dominant tree species on campus including a picture for future identification purposes.  Information was included to influence tree selection and maintenance.  Aspects such as,soil and moisture requirements, tolerance to salt and pollution, rate of growth, habitat, limitations, and common pests are discussed.

leaf2.gif (1633 bytes)Methodology for Objective F - Ecological Integrity

Criteria that indicate ecological integrity that are explored include aesthetics, adaptability, diversity, ecological functions and health.


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Equipment or Personnel Needs

General equipment required for the tree inventory itself include the following:

Various experts on tree identification and tree health (ie Larry Lamb, Les Van Dongen)

Expected Contacts

****All of the above contacts have been interviewed in preparation for this document

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