Downtown Dallas

Tree Inventory & Ecosystem Services Benefits

Using state-of-the-art technology, Texas Trees Foundation assessed trees in the city center from late 2014 through early 2015. Tree species, total tree height, condition, and other attributes were assessed and cataloged using a data storage and management system designed for tree inventories. This software program enables Downtown Dallas, Inc. and municipal departments to accurately place trees on aerial imagery, record and display critical tree characteristics and set budgets for future maintenances such as public safety and/or tree health.

After the trees were assessed and inventoried, data was uploaded to a program called i-Tree, developed by the USDA Forest Service and Davey Resource Group. This program allows users to economically and ecologically monetize the benefits of trees for carbon sequestration, energy savings, stormwater mitigation, and other factors that are important to our community. From this program, we are able to quantify and report the economic and environmental value trees provide to the downtown community. By utilizing this information, Downtown Dallas, Inc. is in a position to better manage this urban oasis and ensure a sustainable, healthy, well-treed city center for decades to come.

This report details the work that was done to assess the current condition and value of the trees in downtown Dallas. It provides the results of the inventory and offers recommendations for the care and maintenance of the downtown urban forest and landscape through the use of Green Infrastructure Best Management Practices.

Impact

By understanding the structure, function, and value of an urban forest, Downtown Dallas, Inc. and the City of Dallas can promote better management decisions that will extend the life of trees and improve the overall health and safety of urban trees. By promoting better management decisions, stakeholders can share with the public the knowledge that trees are a capital asset to the community.

With sound planning and good decision making, newly planted and existing trees will continue to grow, thrive and lessen the probability of causing future problems or conflicts. Moving away from a reactive-based management program to a pro-active approach will ensure a healthier and safer environment and reduce management and maintenance costs.

Importance

Trees are essential to our city, region, and state. Trees offer a wide range of benefits to our environment. These include pollution reduction, energy savings, heat island mitigation, stormwater management, erosion control, wildlife habitat, and an enhanced sense of self and place.

Trees are one of the most effective ways to bring about widespread improvement in the environment and the quality of life of an area. Even in a vast metropolitan city like Dallas, where gray infrastructure far outweighs the green, trees play a significant role in regulating temperature, improving air and water quality, and increasing energy savings.

Key Findings

Number of trees: 6,218

7.4% Canopy Cover

Most common species: Live oak, Cedar elm, Shumard red oak

Over 60% of the trees are between 4-12 inches in DBH (Diameter Breast Height)

Of the 6,218 trees, 5,781 are in fair to excellent condition (92.9%)

Carbon Sequestration: 1,823,288 pounds per year (value: $13,675/year)

Carbon Storage: 14,149,377 total pounds stored (value: $106,120)

Energy Savings: $44,514 each year

Annual Rainfall Interception: 11.4 million cubic feet per year (value: $113,166/year)

Structural value: $17.8 million