City and Residents to Make Tree Policy

Ann Arbor provides raw data of tree inventory

Recent tree trimming activity in Ann Arbor’s Virginia Park in connection with the filming of the movie “Flipped” had drawn scrutiny from neighbors. But more significantly, tree removal and pruning in the general neighborhood had raised concerns among residents about the city’s tree management policy. Why were apparently healthy trees being removed?

On Monday evening, city staff met with 80-100 residents in the auditorium of Slauson Middle School. Kerry Gray, coordinator for urban forestry and natural resources planning, was on hand to clarify that an initiative to develop an urban forest management plan – Gray’s main goal in the coming year – had been accelerated. Instead of beginning the public process in the fall, Monday’s meeting was effectively the kickoff to a public engagement process on developing a tree management plan for the city.

Our goal with this brief article is not to explicate the back-and-forth among residents and staff at Monday’s meeting, but rather to share some data.

Back in the spring we’d noticed the city’s tree inventory in progress. On Monday evening at Slauson, some of the results of that inventory were presented in summary form (e.g., almost 40% of the city’s trees are some kind of maple).

But in light of some recent local discussion about access to raw data, we’d looked forward to the completion of the tree inventory by Davey Resource Group, anticipating a rich data set that could serve as inspiration for anyone with the technical know-how to make use of it. It includes the location of each tree, as well as type, condition and size.

We asked the city of Ann Arbor for all the electronic deliverables from Davey. And we provide the following data with a caveat: On Monday evening, city staff stressed that they were still doing some quality control work on the initial data set – so the data provided to The Chronicle is a snapshot of the city’s trees as assessed by the Davey Resource Group. The city’s inventory will presumably be maintained as a frequently updated data set that changes as trees are pruned, removed, or planted.

  • Tree Inventory Analysis Report – includes executive summary.
  • Tree Inventory CSV Data – the original data set was in MS EXCEL format. Saved to CSV saves a few MB, but even so, it’s a large (15MB) file.
  • Report Spreadsheet – summary data associated with the analysis report.
  • GeoDatabase Zipfile – the coordinates in the CSV file don’t look like GPS coordinates, but presumably the multiple files contained in the GeoDatabase provide some sort of relational structure?

Section: Environment, Govt.

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  1. July 2, 2009 at 1:32 pm | permalink

    I’m working on a little app that will display tree info … first code to be posted this evening.

  2. July 3, 2009 at 12:51 am | permalink

    I blogged a list of all of the locations of juneberry trees.

  3. By Alan Goldsmith
    July 6, 2009 at 9:22 am | permalink

    “Our goal with this brief article is not to explicate the back-and-forth among residents and staff at Monday’s meeting, but rather to share some data.”

    This is a good thing but if 80-100 people were at the meeting I’m thinking it wasn’t just for a group hug with city officials. Were that any concerns about the way the city handles this issue and program?

  4. By Karen Sidney
    July 7, 2009 at 10:57 am | permalink

    The meeting organizers have a statement of concerns with city tree policy. Maybe Dave can get an electronic copy and post it here.

  5. By Alan Goldsmith
    July 7, 2009 at 11:36 am | permalink

    Thanks Karen.

  6. By Dave Askins
    July 7, 2009 at 2:41 pm | permalink
  7. By Alan Goldsmith
    July 7, 2009 at 3:05 pm | permalink

    Thank you sir!

  8. By John
    July 14, 2009 at 9:49 am | permalink

    We have a tree that is ant infested and have over the years had to plague the forester to do something about it. Since it is on the easement thecity will not allow trimming and it has become a threat to our house and the neighbors. It is also the source of problems for the sidewalk and the city will soon be redoing our street. I wish the city couls coordinate its actions and not obstruct the safety of its citizens and their domiciles. Perhaps it they had a movie or a new police office on our site we could get sopme action.

  9. July 14, 2009 at 2:58 pm | permalink

    Unfortunately, the city has been pushed into a highly defensive mode on tree removal that is going to cause a number of us problems. A dead crabapple is going to be removed nearby but my nearly dead one (bark is coming off in shreds and only one lonely branch still has stunted foliage) was not marked for renewal. I received a letter notifying me of removals on my street and called the number indicated. I was told that they are now marking trees for removal only if they are 100% dead or if they can be demonstrated to be a hazard.