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I have just seen an Apple application for iPhone called Trees Near You. It has been created specifically for the streets of New York, so of no use here in Sydney. The phone application allows you to go to any location in New York & find the name of any street tree.
You are provided with a photo of the tree, including close up of leaves & any flowers. The horticultural name is provided as well as details about the behaviour of the tree, its growth patterns, its current trunk size & most importantly, its visual, environmental & economic value to the community in terms of how much CO2 it sequesters, how much oxygen it produces, how much storm water runoff it collects & how much energy it saves. All these facts are calculated into dollars each tree actually saves the community.
The monetary value of street trees can be calculated for an individual tree, a street, a block, an area, the city or the whole state.
What is interesting to me is that the demo video shows just how many trees are planted in each city street. I did not watch the whole video, just long enough to understand how the application worked. The part that I watched concentrated on streets in New York City, which we all know to be high-density living.
Even in New York City the street trees are planted close to each other, much closer together than in Marrickville LGA. There also seems to be a greater variety of tree species & most certainly taller growing trees. Their green canopy is far greater than ours.
NYC is constantly planting new street trees to reach their goal of 1 million new street trees. They already have 500,000 street trees just in this small island.
The other thing that is interesting about this application is that the information was derived from street census data & made available to the public by the city government. This means they did a Tree Inventory, something I think Marrickville Council should do as a priority. The city government believed that the public were involved enough to actually want this information made available to them.
Oh, how I wish the same were happening here. Apple would not have spent money creating an application such as this if they did not think there would be a demand for it. This is further indication that the people of New York are interested in their street trees & value them highly.
This application could be taken further by colouring in red those trees that are earmarked for removal or have been removed, but not replaced. The reasons could be provided & I would guess this would result in more people in the community electing to actively support the retaining of healthy trees.
I think it would also deter property owners from applying to have the street tree out front removed for whatever reason, be it assumed root damage, unwanted shade, obstruction of views, dropping of leaves, noise made by the branches moving in the wind or annoyance at wildlife living in the tree.
An application like this documenting the street trees in Marrickville LGA would help SOT immensely. All that information at my fingertips, it’s a dream! Hurry up Apple and please, make it available for computer use! It would probably be useful for Council as well.