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Urban Field Station Starter Kit

Thumbnail image of USDA Forest Service Urban Research Locations map
The Urban Field Station Starter Kit includes the following tools and resources that can be used separately or together to inform assessment, planning, and monitoring efforts to enhance urban forest health and stewardship in a community. 


Urban Starter Kit Presentation
This is an overview presentation that briefly lists the uses and outcomes associated with each of the below-listed tools.

  • Urban Tree Canopy
    The Urban Tree Canopy (UTC) suite of tools consists of high-resolution mapping methodology that integrates green and gray land cover data with critical social, economic, and environmental information to inform sustainability and resilience policy, planning, and management. UTC allows for the integration of high resolution green infrastructure data with parcel-level data; this can inform a wide variety of questions and outcomes linked to improving quality of life - ranging from safety and crime to public health and water quality.  UTC is now used in dozens of cities, and has been used to create and inform tree planting and other goals that improve quality of life for millions of people.

  • i-Tree
    i-Tree is a free software suite that provides communities with forest analysis and tools.  i-Tree can help users understand the local, tangible ecosystem services that trees provide, linking forest management activities with environmental quality and community livability.  It provides baseline data that can be used to set priorities for more effective decision-making (from school boards to county council budget committees).  i-Tree software can estimate the benefits of the tree in your backyard or of the trees in an entire watershed area.  Its versatility and user-friendly design make it applicable to provide key information on Capitol Hill or to third-grade classrooms. 

  • Urban FIA
    Urban Forestry Inventory and Analysis (Urban FIA) is an extension of the traditional FIA program, and inventories and monitors urban forests, on both public and private land across the nation, with a special emphasis on America’s largest cities.  It collects data on the values, land ownership objectives, and forest management practices of provide forest landowners.  It even includes a pilot effort to understand urban wood flows to help support and grow the US wood industry.  This data can illuminate regional or national trends in urban forest health and status.  

  • Stewardship Mapping & Assessment Project
    The Stewardship Mapping & Assessment Project (STEW-MAP) was developed by researchers at the Northern Research Station in NYC out of a recognition that taking stock of social infrastructure is just as important as knowing about a city’s biophysical infrastructure.  In addition, public agencies face complex challenges and limited budgets; effective solutions may require productively involving and leveraging community capacity. The STEW-MAP tool enables users to study the social landscape of environmental stewardship activities to understand which groups or organizations are active and what kind of work they are doing across the urban landscape.  By mapping this out, a user can get a sense of resources and gaps, and may be able to engage groups and partner organizations to help address a project need, be it a local stream clean-up or a comprehensive urban forest plan or canopy conservation project.

  • Climate Change Adaptation Workbook  
    The Climate Change Adaptation Workbook is specifically tailored to address climate change and community resiliency.  The Workbook has a dedicated section evaluating forests in the urban environment.  It provides a structured process to consider the potential effects of climate change and design land management and conservation actions that can help prepare for changing conditions. The process is flexible to accommodate a wide variety of geographic locations, ownership types, ecosystems and land uses, management goals, and project sizes.  For example, does your community need to re-evaluate tree species that are more flood or drought tolerant?

  • Vibrant Cities Lab
    The Vibrant Cities Lab is a recently-launched website by the U.S. Forest Service, American Forests and the National Association of Regional Councils, that provides current research, case studies, and best practices for implementing green infrastructure projects in communities.