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University taking inventory of campus trees

Nick Shepherd • Jun 5, 2012 at 10:41 PM

The trees on the campus of East Tennessee State University are going through a rigourous evaluation in which they will get placed into a condition class, photographed and inventoried.

ETSU has hired a team from Bartlett Tree Experts to do a complete inventory of all the campus trees. The team will be on campus until Friday.

“We are doing inventory on over 2,000 trees throughout campus,” said Kathleen Moore director of sustainability. “The trees have to be at least three inches in diameter or more to be in the inventory.”

The team will place the trees into different condition categories ranging from good condition to a dead tree. They do this by taking an overall view of the tree.

The team also will offer recommendations to ETSU.

“We are going to collect size and health information on the trees,” said Jarod Faas, inventory arborist. “We will also provide recommendations for any pruning or other type of work that may need to be done on the trees.”

The team will photograph, label and note all the trees on campus. An online map also will be developed to show the location and image of each individual tree.

The online map will provide pictures and information about the trees around campus. If someone wants to see what a mature serviceberry tree looks like, they can go to the website and find out, Moore said.

She said this is something that the public would like to see.

“This will be very helpful for the public,” she said. “We actually get calls from the public about the trees. It will also help to increase awareness about the trees around campus.”

All of the inventory work will cost around $20,000. ETSU received a grant for $10,000 from the Tennessee Urban Forestry Council. The other half of the money came from students at ETSU.

Full-time students pay a $5 sustainability fee that is grouped in with their tuition. That gives ETSU about $135,000 to use on various projects throughout the year, Moore said.

Every year, faculty and students meet and submit ideas about campus sustainability. Then they vote on the proposed projects, with students representing a majority of the vote.

Bartlett also will give the school a general overview of the tree population.

“We give the school a good representation of overall health of the tree population on campus,” said Faas. “Overall, everything looks good. They generally do.”

Barlett is not new to the evaluation process. Faas has been working with Bartlett for a year and this will be his 50th tree inventory.

ETSU will update the inventory annually as more trees are planted. It also will show the progression of trees throughout their life-span, Moore said.

“We want to quantify the benefits of trees,” she said. “We also want to show that trees provide many benefits. It pays to go around trees.”

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