UBC Undergraduate Research

Urban Forest Inventory & Assessment Devisscher, Tahia; Nesbitt, Lorien


Urban Forest Inventory and Assessment (UFOR 101) started from 1) the need to teach students about urban forest structure, composition, and distribution, and how these influence the ecosystem services and benefits urban forests provide, and 2) the need for a sound overview of biodiversity assets, including urban forest resources, on UBC campus. UFOR 101 was designed and implemented for the first time in 2019. It involved 61 first-year students in the Bachelor of Urban Forestry program (and one visiting student from Japan) and ran from January 2nd to April 3rd, 2019. The course introduced the students to a range of methods and tools for urban forest inventory and assessment. Moreover, it discussed how inventories and assessments are integrated into the planning and management of urban forests, with real implications for the urban forests on UBC campus. At the time of the course, UBC Campus & Community Planning (UBC C&CP) was developing the UBC Urban Forest Management Plan (UFMP). The work conducted by UFOR 101 students provided important information to support this process. In addition to UBC C&CP, other key stakeholders who contributed to UFOR 101 included UBC Information Technology and UBC Botanical Garden, whose horticulture students, under Egan Davis, contributed accompanying data on the understory. The collaboration was coordinated by the UBC SEEDS program with the intention to repeat this initiative on a yearly basis. During the first year, the work focused on a specific area of campus referred to as Phase 1 (see map below). In subsequent years, students will be working in different areas of campus until eventually urban forest inventory and assessment data will have been gathered for the entire UBC campus. The UFOR 101 course involved four modules, two major group assignments, and final group presentations of all the work. The first assignment comprised an ‘urban forest inventory’. For this assignment, students planned and implemented a basic urban tree inventory for a selected area of campus. They worked in small groups of five to six students. The final product of the assignment presents a comprehensive overview of the inventory data, analysis of the data, and the process used to collect it. All eleven inventory reports produced by the students are attached to this document. The second assignment comprised an ‘ecosystem service assessment’. Working in the same groups, students assessed the ecosystem services provided by their selected urban forest area using the inventory data collected in the first assignment. They used different ecosystem services assessment tools and methods, including i-Tree Eco, i-Tree Canopy, and Value Mapping. Findings of the ecosystem services assessments were used to make recommendations for the UBC UFMP. The eleven reports of the ecosystem services assessment and planning recommendations are attached to this document. By the end of the course, the students were be able to: • Describe the importance and multiple uses of urban forest inventories and assessment • Discuss different approaches adopted for inventories and assessment • Use different tools to measure the tree and site parameters considered important in inventories and assessments • Carry out a basic tree inventory • Undertake assessments of the multiple ecosystem services provided by urban forests • Apply information from tree inventories and ecosystem service assessments in the urban forest management planning process at the University of British Columbia. Disclaimer: “UBC SEEDS provides students with the opportunity to share the findings of their studies, as well as their opinions, conclusions and recommendations with the UBC community. The reader should bear in mind that this is a student project/report and is not an official document of UBC. Furthermore readers should bear in mind that these reports may not reflect the current status of activities at UBC. We urge you to contact the research persons mentioned in a report or the SEEDS Coordinator about the current status of the subject matter of a project/report.”

Item Citations and Data


Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International