Urban tree growth studies, Nationwide

The brief

As part of a study into the growth rates of urban trees Thomson Ecology was commissioned by Forest Research, the research agency of the Forestry Commission, to collect core samples of four common tree species.

The trees were to be identified and sampled within the city limits of Edinburgh, Glasgow, Cardiff, Birmingham and Peterborough.

The project required us to locate trees, according to the project criteria, in each of the designated cities and taking cores, soil samples and survey data for each of them.

What we did

  • We ran a training course for our surveyors in coring, soil assessment and mensuration techniques required to undertake the survey.
  • We created a bespoke survey form covering all of the size and health features for each tree required by Forest Research.
  • The survey form was uploaded to our hand-held mobile mapper units by our in-house GIS specialists with a base map of each city.
  • The mobile mappers were used by our surveyors for accurately and consistently capturing survey data (diameter at breast height, height, canopy width, height to crown base, percentage canopy missing, percentage dieback, crown exposure) and GPS location of each surveyed tree.
  • We liaised with the local authority tree officers from each city to identify areas where trees suitable for the survey would be present.
  • We rapidly mobilised teams of surveyors from several of our offices country-wide to complete the project on time.
  • Approximately 165 suitable trees were located and sampled in parks throughout each of the survey cities. In total, 825 trees were sampled.
  • Electronic survey results were provided to Forest Research on a weekly basis, following a strict quality assurance process.
  • All the sample cores were given a unique reference number and delivered securely to Forest Research, and the locations of each sampled tree sent as GIS shape files.

The outcome

We successfully delivered the project within the tight timeframe given, and to the standard required, through working closely with Forest Research and Tree Officers within each city.

Our Covid-19
Business Response

Find out more