Tree Assessment/Inventory

Retaining trees already in place on a site helps avoid the costs of removing the tree, establishing and caring for a young tree, and capitalizes on the natural drainage abilities of the tree. Designing around these trees allows the interception and evapotranspiration capabilities of the site to be maintained.

Conservation of wooded areas should be an essential part of any land development project. Urban and community planners can more easily conserve wooded areas by adopting and following an approach that consists of defining goals, conducting an inventory and assessing resources, creating a conservation plan and identifying and selecting land protection options.

When defining goals to conserve wooded areas, you should include:
• protection of continuity of wooded areas;
• definition of neighborhood and community boundaries;
• protection/restoration of ecological integrity and functions;
• creation of networks of forest communities; and
• protection of wildlife habitat and corridors.

Assessment of Resources
A resource inventory includes resource assessment, a woodland survey and a Landscape Resource Map. The resource assessment and woodland survey should consist of:
• delineating tree stands;
• assessing ecological functions;
• identifying watershed, drainage, soil types, existing infrastructures, topography and areas of significant as well as cultural value;
• identifying and classifying wooded areas by type and condition; and
• identifying, assessing and classifying other natural resources.

Once this is done, a Comprehensive Landscape Resource Map can be created containing all pertinent survey and assessment information.

Conservation Plan
A conservation plan should be created by:
• identifying areas for development;
• selecting wooded areas to conserve including:
• those that have potential to be connected to others,
• those occupied by rare plant and animal species,
• large tracts or remnants of wooded areas,
• those with significant ecological functions and conservation values,
• areas with potential for reforestation;
• identifying and locating wooded areas; and
• identifying and locating sites for main transportation systems and utility infrastructure.

Once all of the above areas have been identified and recorded and entered in a Geographic Information System (GIS), it should be shared with local and regional units of government, developers, builders and other organizations. This information will then allow for the promotion of continuity and connectivity of wooded areas and enhance partnerships among stakeholders.

Some conservation and land protection options that have been developed to assist landowners and local units of government include, but are not limited to:
• Land-retirement programs;
• Conservation easements;
• Restoration cost-share programs;
• Land transfers;
• Mutual covenants;
• Land donations;
• Property tax-relief programs;
• Registry programs;
• Deed restrictions;
• Management agreements;
• Land exchanges;
• Land sales to conservation buyers; and
• Transfer of development rights.

Use of Different Tree Species
Preserving Existing Trees
Guidelines (Medians, Parking Lots)
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