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#356 Using Urban Forestry Data to Improve Health and Quality of Life in the Chicago Region



Results from an extensive tree census conducted in the seven-county Chicago metropolitan region found that urban forests are in a state of transition with the recent loss of 13 million trees to emerald ash borer. Further, 28% of the overall forest is comprised of an exotic invasive species. This transition has significant impacts on the 8.5 million people who rely on the benefits these trees provide (US 2010 Census). The Chicago Region Trees Initiative (CRTI), founded by The Morton Arboretum, was organized to reverse this outlook and leverage collaborative efforts for a holistic approach to improve the urban forest and quality of life for Chicago region residents.

To understand the dynamic nature of the forest and develop a data driven strategy, the CRTI collected and combined extensive datasets. These datasets included LiDAR, aerial imagery, land cover, forest inventories (private and public), forest management capacity, socio-economic data, pre-settlement ecosystem mapping, human and tree health data, among others. The resulting analyses help identify a community’s unique list of challenges (low canopy cover, high poverty, poor health, etc.) and opportunities (strong forestry program, remnant woodlands, community engagement, etc.). By recognizing challenges and opportunities at varying scales, strategies can be successfully tailored to improve the urban forest.

For outreach purposes, a scientific literature review was conducted on the benefits trees provide to people. The CRTI develops programs and outreach for people and organizations that make land use decisions and manage trees. By expanding knowledge and skills to improve the urban forest, the quality of life will be improved in this region. This integrated program based on urban forest research serves as a strong case study.


RSVP required Braintree now requires all attendees to RSVP beforehand by 12:00 PM (noon). Walk-ins will not be allowed!

ASL This event will have an American Sign Language interpreter.

Food Food and drinks will be provided. We encourage attendees to bring their own water bottles to reduce waste.


Agenda and meeting notes
Sponsor CityBase
American Sign Language interpreter

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