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Public Radio's Environmental News Magazine (follow us on Google News)

Cool Fix for a Hot Planet/Tree Wiki

Air Date: Week of

San Franciscans are relying on an open source website to document urban trees rather than use a traditional tree survey. The data logged by community members is used to calculate environmental benefits of the urban forests in the Bay area, and helps city officials better protect them. Honah Liles reports.


LILES: These days, it seems like wikis, the open source collaborative websites, are sprouting up everywhere. There’s a wiki for quotes, a wiki for travel, a wiki for star wars. And now, there’s a wiki for trees.


The Urban Forest Map wiki relies on community members to document every single tree in the San Francisco area. A tree survey typically costs about three dollars a tree, and in a city with hundreds of thousands of trees, that adds up quickly. But with the Urban Forest Map, community volunteers record and update data, which cuts costs and leads to accurate and current information. On the site, every tree has a profile page listing information including location, species and size. Based on those specifics, the amount of carbon dioxide and air pollutants removed from the air by each tree is also listed.

This treasure trove of data helps city officials and community organizers manage and protect urban tree populations, and allows scientists to study the relationship between urban forests and climate. Supporters of the project are hoping that this new type of wiki will put down roots in other cities across the country. That’s this week’s cool fix for a hot planet. I’m Honah Liles.



Urban Forest Map

San Francisco’s Urban Forest Map

Urban Forest Map’s Facebook Page


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