UF researchers to begin full study on Gainesville’s tree inventory

UF staff stand around a tree as a researchers shows how to measure the trunk.
UF researchers will begin to study the tree inventory in Gainesville.
Courtesy UF/IFAS

Be on the lookout for University of Florida researchers donning orange vests as they measure trees throughout Gainesville, as part of a study funded by the city of Gainesville.

For the next two years, a team led by Associate Professor of Forest Systems Dr. Michael Andreu, and UF Environmental Horticulture Assistant Professor Dr. Ryan Klein, will take inventory of trees on municipal rights-of-way, as well as developed areas of city parks, and complete an ecological analysis of Gainesville’s public and private urban forest.

The study will evaluate various components and services of the city’s urban forest. The same study was completed by Andreu’s team in 2016. That year, trees saved Gainesville residents an estimated $7.7 million in energy costs associated with shading of residential buildings.

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“We’re looking forward to the study results. How can you best manage Gainesville’s urban forest if you don’t know exactly what you’ve got?” said City Arborist David Conser. “We expect the information gathered will help us to continue to maintain, and even enhance, this incredible public asset for years to come.”

The city published an urban forest management plan in 2020 with support from the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) Extension team. The plan included metrics, derived from this research, that can be used to understand how the urban forest is changing and serving the goals set out by the City and its residents.

“The 2016 study established a baseline for what the forest looked like (species, size, how distributed across the city),” said Andreu. “With this second iteration, we will begin to see how it is changing over time,” he said.

The new study should be completed in late 2026. The information gained through the inventory of urban trees also will help the City estimate the total percentage of the tree canopy; assess the urban forest’s overall health, diversity, and size distribution; estimate the economic benefits provided by the current canopy; compare the current and previously reported economic benefits; build public support for the City urban forestry programs; promote better tree care; and assist in determining locations for the Urban Forestry Division to plant new trees.

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Dean Mimms

How refreshing to read about this important and timely project with respect to Gainesville’s urban forest. Sincere thank you to everyone involved.

James Gardner

Hey Dean, don’t mean to throw shade, but what did the last and current projects cost? How much will the canopy change in 8 years on city properties? I live in a residential neighborhood urban forest (28 years) and the city annexed us, then changed our zoning to MU1 and the developers are going to rip nearly every tree out of the ground very soon. Say good bye to many really beautiful legacy oak trees and one of the only urban forests left in the city. Could you be sure that your neighbors in Robbinswood are represented at the developers presentation at the review board by sending me the most recent tree survey that the developers are required to have completed in their plans in Robbinswood? Please consider this a public records request. Thank you.

Cut every tree

Too bad they did not do this survey BEFORE a quick buck developer clear cut the hundreds of trees at the old church site at Millhopper and made another tacky paved strip mall cuz Gainesville does not have enough of them already. Tree City USA my arse.