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Tree Map Encourages Residents to Help Care for City Trees

Several years ago the City of New York published the New York City Tree Map, which is a web-based tool residents can use to get up close and personal with the City’s trees.  Residents can learn about the trees on their street, record their efforts to care for these trees, and  report tree problems to the City.

Each tree appears on the map as a dot, its color and size indicating the plant’s species and trunk circumference, respectively. Clicking on each dot brings up information about the tree’s location, including its closest address accompanied by street photographs from Cyclomedia. It also pulls up stats on its ecological and financial contribution to the city, as calculated using formulas from the US Forest Service. Zoom out, and the map calculates all the benefits at a neighborhood level.

The City uses the Tree Map to encourage residents to help care for trees in their parks and neighborhoods.  Volunteers can log any care they provide to a tree, whether that’s watering it, removing garbage from the tree bed, or pruning branches (which requires citizens to first obtain a permit). They can also save “favorite” trees, or announce their appreciation for them on social media through the share button.

For more complex maintenance, New Yorkers can also alert officials to any specific tree in need of attention by digitally tagging it on the map on their phone and putting in a service request or reporting an issue.  A new feature of the map allows users to track the results of any work done by the city.

The Tree Map was the result of a comprehensive tree survey conducted by more than 2,300 volunteers between 2015 and 2016.  Another dozen volunteers later help park staff in surveying trees in New York’s parks.  The nonprofit Trees New York, coordinates these volunteer efforts and in on track to train 300 people in 2022 to become licensed citizen pruners for the City.

Click here to read more about NYC Tree Map.