Would you believe us if we told you that population of trees in a single London park has an estimated lifetime value of £12.3 million? Well you better believe it as that’s what our latest community-led research project, carried out in Kennington Park in South London, has discovered!
Earlier in the year, we were joined by 35 volunteers who all got their measuring tools out to help us assess the size and health of the 480 trees across the park. Taking measurements such as height, age, girth and species our volunteers gathered an abundance of data about each and every tree – which we punch in to a clever software called iTree. Click here to read more about how we carried this survey out.
Some complicated maths takes place and in return we are given an annual estimate of each trees’ monetary value, as well as telling us how much carbon is stored in them over their lifetime, how much carbon dioxide and pollution they remove from the atmosphere and how many litres of rainwater run-off they capture.
Applying this information
It’s easy to see from the results that the benefits our trees bring us are both vital and highly valuable, but what can we use this information for?
With our cities ever expanding and over 80% of us now living in urban communities we need our urban trees more than ever before. By understanding a tree’s value, we can plan future tree planting more effectively and it may even help us save some of the trees we have now!
If we know the value of the trees that we are losing to old age, we can plan and invest in replacing them. If we know we need a wider variety of tree species in an area to increase resistance to disease, we chose trees which suit the environment and still deliver the same level of benefits. We’ve already been putting these results into practice and have used them to inform tree planting within Kennington Park – planting 20 new legacy trees!Over 40 volunteers from the local area around Kennington and 3 local schools joined us to plant the 20 new trees throughout the park. Carefully selected, these new trees build upon the history of the trees already in the park and leave a leafy legacy for many years to come.
Our volunteers said the thing they enjoyed most about planting trees was:
“Knowing that I’ll be leaving a lasting memory on this earth.”
“Hearing the proper techniques on how to plant.”
“Getting one’s hands dirty and being able to see ‘your’ tree grow.”
By increasing the species diversity and planting trees that suit the area we can increase the current tree stock’s resistance to disease and leave a new leafy legacy to support the park’s current tree residents. Our new trees will then continue bringing us these vital benefits for many years to come, when some of the park’s oldest trees reach the end of their life cycle.
Read the full report
Take a look at our full Kennington Park iTree report to see more details about the value of the trees in the park.
A huge thank you to Friends of Kennington Park, the London Borough of Lambeth, Brian Woolf Trust, FLO Northern Line Extension and Western Riverside Environmental Fund for supporting our iTree survey and legacy tree planting project in Kennington Park, as well as everyone that volunteered!
For more information about the Kennington iTree Eco survey, or other volunteering opportunities with Trees for Cities, get in touch with Ellen: firstname.lastname@example.org