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Council invites residents to get involved in new study to survey Cambridge's trees

News release from 07/05/2020

AN INNOVATIVE urban forestry study will see households in Cambridge invited to help assess the vital role the city’s trees play in providing benefits to the community, including tackling climate change, improving air quality and preventing flooding.

Cambridge City Council is working together with Treeconomics Ltd, Forest Research and Anglia Ruskin University (ARU) on the i-Tree Eco Cambridge study to help describe and quantify the significant benefits that Cambridge’s 300,000-plus trees give to residents, visitors and wildlife.

The study will enable decisions to be made about the future management and investment in Cambridge’s urban forest, to maximise its benefits for current and future generations.

Households will be chosen at random across the city and invited to participate in the project. If they agree to take part households will be issued with a project pack and field guide though the post and will be able to respond online or on paper.

No specific training or expertise will be required from the householders, as the council will guide them through all aspects of the survey via a full explanation in the field guide and through short training videos. This will enable people to participate from home, whilst contributing valuable data about trees in their area to the study.

Participants will be thanked for taking part by being given a free tree for planting and will be acknowledged in the final project report.

This study is part of the wider Cambridge Canopy Project, a council-led urban forest initiative which seeks to help Cambridge prepare for the projected impacts of climate change by protecting and enhancing the city’s urban forest.

The development of an urban forest is an effective solution to counter many of the undesirable effects brought about by a changing climate, such as higher temperatures and increased risk of stormwater flooding [see note 6 below]. A range of additional benefits will also be realised for public health and well-being, and for wildlife and nature by enhancing Cambridge’s tree cover.

Additional activities to help the council manage the urban forest are also planned to ensure wider engagement from other homeowners and residents of Cambridge as part of this project. These include inviting people to map the city’s trees and help water new trees or encouraging more people to plant trees, including through the council’s Free Trees For Babies scheme. For more information visit https://www.cambridge.gov.uk/help-us-manage-the-citys-trees

Cllr Katie Thornburrow, Executive Councillor for Planning Policy and Open Spaces, said: "I am pleased that the residents and students of Cambridge have this opportunity to participate collectively in a project that will help us to protect this wonderful green asset for the benefit of the whole community now and in the future”.

Dr Julia Mackenzie from the School of Life Sciences at ARU said: “This is a wonderful opportunity for ARU’s students to gain practical field experience and put into practice different skills they have learnt during their degree.”

Danielle Hill of Treeconomics, said: “Understanding the benefits urban forests bring to communities is an essential element of their sustainable management. i-Tree Eco is an excellent tool for this and Cambridge’s novel approach to collecting data will make it more feasible for smaller local authorities to undertake their own studies. We are very excited to be working with Cambridge City Council and their partners to help deliver this innovative and forward-thinking project”.