Explore Austin’s Community Tree Priority Map

Have you ever wondered how you can make a positive impact on your city’s environment? Look no further than the Community Tree Priority Map, released by the City of Austin’s Community Tree Preservation Division in 2020. This incredible tool is not only accessible to city programs and policymakers but also to tree enthusiasts, arborists, and anyone who wants to get involved in Austin’s urban forestry efforts. Let’s dive into the details and see how this map is revolutionizing tree planting and care in Austin!

Uncovering Disparities and Making Informed Decisions

The Community Tree Priority Map provides a comprehensive overview of Austin’s neighborhoods, allowing us to identify areas with historically low tree canopy. By analyzing data on tree canopy, temperature, mental health, and air pollution, the map assigns a simple score to each neighborhood. The higher the score, the higher the priority for tree planting and community stewardship projects. With this information at our fingertips, we can make informed decisions on where to focus our efforts for maximum impact.

A Collaborative Effort

The development of the Community Tree Priority Map was a collaborative effort, involving consultations with various stakeholders such as arborists, planners, tree planters, students, and more. The City’s Youth Forest Council and Park Ranger Cadets played a crucial role in endorsing the recommended data for the map. Their passion for trees was evident through their heartfelt expressions of gratitude. As one youth participant beautifully put it, “I am thankful for the shade trees bring on hot summer days. I am thankful for the way they calm me down so I am able to listen to nature and feel at ease. I am thankful for the clean air they give me so I am able to breathe.”

Using Priorities to Gauge Success

The map not only guides us in determining where to invest in new trees but also serves as a metric for measuring success. By analyzing the data, we can assess whether tree planting and care activities are occurring in the higher priority areas. So far, the data tell us that 60% of tree planting in the last five years took place in the moderate to highest need areas. Going forward, we will continue to prioritize tree planting, care, education, and inspiration projects in these areas to further enhance the urban forest.

Explore Austin’s Community Tree Priority Map

Interested in exploring the interactive map? Visit the Tips Tree Planting website.

A Closer Look at the Map

The Community Tree Priority Map is organized into two categories: High Priority and Low Priority. It combines nine data inputs, including environmental factors, social vulnerability, community investment, and health and well-being. Each category is carefully normalized to ensure a fair assessment of priority. This comprehensive approach allows us to address the needs of each neighborhood and create a thriving urban forest throughout Austin.

Additional Resources for Tree Enthusiasts

If you’re eager to dive deeper into Austin’s urban forestry initiatives, you’ll find valuable resources beyond the Community Tree Priority Map. The Stewardship Investment section of the Community Tree Report showcases the City’s investment in various activities that support the urban forest and its dedicated stewards. With striking visualizations and an interactive project map, this report provides a comprehensive snapshot of the city’s efforts.

The Urban Forest Inventory and Analysis Program (UFIA) conducted an assessment in Austin in 2016, providing detailed information on the city’s urban forest. The inventory includes estimates of tree quantity, health, composition, and benefits, further highlighting the significance of our urban trees.

Lastly, if you have an idea to benefit Austin’s urban forest in a high-priority area, we encourage you to explore and apply for the Urban Forest Grant. This grant can provide the necessary funding for your tree planting, care, education, and inspiration projects, allowing you to contribute to the growth and well-being of Austin’s urban forest.

Remember, every tree planted and cared for is a step towards a greener, healthier, and more vibrant Austin. Let’s come together and make a difference!

This article was contributed by Alan Halter, GIS Analyst Senior with the Community Tree Preservation Division.