Environmental Consultant: To obtain quantifiable information about an urban forest by documenting species, condition and number of trees for the purpose of designing and budgeting a maintenance plan.
New technology is driving growth in urban forest management and innovation. Global Positioning Systems (GPS) and laser survey equipment accurately pinpoint tree locations via satellite and have revolutionized data collection. Geographic Information Systems (GIS) then combine tree inventory data with maps of the community infrastructure and plot them to show different views of the urban forest. Interfacing tree management software organizes the database into a user-friendly management tool for prioritizing work loads, scheduling plantings, budgeting maintenance needs, and creating reports.
Each spring the Village of Burton, located east of Cleveland, hosts maple syrup festivities to stimulate the local economy. Years of tapping for syrup have stressed the sugar maples which line the streets of Burton, and residents felt a need for a more proactive street tree maintenance program.
ACRT Environmental Specialists were hired to inventory 1,080 trees. Multi-layer maps showed that 50% of Burton's trees were sugar maples, recommended 9% for removal, and identified trees that were interfering with utility lines. The Village of Burton continues to update the data base and uses it to keep its landmark sugar maples healthy and beautiful.
Ogden, north of Salt Lake City in Utah, is gearing up to host part of the 2002 Winter Olympics, and is proud of its long standing urban forestry program. ACRT Inc.'s Tree Manager software program documents trees and planting sites along 450 miles of city streets. Ogden's city forester uses Tree Management software to streamline information flow and coordinate with city engineers, planners and street maintenance workers about tree planting, maintenance and removals, making the job efficient and cost effective, and keeping the community informed.
Ogden's city forester's job is made easy with current technology. "I wanted urban forestry technology that would grow with Ogden and take our city into the 21st century. I looked at a lot of different tree management programs, and Tree Manager was my pick." Ecosystem analysis shows the benefits of energy conservation, urban heat island reduction, storm water runoff control, air pollution reduction, noise and glare control, and carbon sequestering in enhancing the quality of urban life.
Career opportunities in this field range from on the job training in data collection with a large environmental consulting firm to consulting with city managers and city foresters on the purchase, use and application of software management systems. ACRT Environmental Specialists, headquartered in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, is but one of several national environmental services consulting firms and can be reached at http://www.acrtinc.com.