#ARBatwork #PledgeLessPlastic & 1987 storm 2018 3ATC 50th annual AA AA Awards accreditation advice AFL AGM Agrilus Biguttatus aid air quality Alert Alex Kirkley amenity Amenity Conference Ancient Tree Forum Annual Awards APPGHG apprentice apprenticeship Apprenticeships Approved Contractors ARB ARB Approved Contractor ARB Approved Contractors ARB at work ARB Magazine ARB Show Arboricultural Association Arboriculture arborists Arbsafe ash dieback Assessments atf Australia Autumn Review award Awards Barcham Trees Bartlett Tree Experts bats beetle beyond ism Bill Matthews biodiversity biosecurity Branches Brexit bs5837 business Call for papers Campout Canker stain of plane carbon CCS Cellular Confinement Systems CEnv Ceratocystis Ceratocystis platani chainsaw chalara Charles charter Charter for Trees chelsea Chelsea Flower Show Claus Mattheck climate climber climbing Colleges committees competiton conference Confor conifers conservation Consultant consultation Coroner Council Countryside Stewardship cross industry news Cryphonectria parasitica Cumbria DART Date for your diary deadwood death defra Design Devon disease document dothistroma EAC East Anglia ecology Economic Report economy Ecotricity education Electricity England EPF Europe European Arboricultural Council European Wood Pastures exeter Exhibitors Fatality Fera Fine flood flooding Forest Research forestry Forestry Commission forests FSC Fund4Trees funding fundraiser gardening GDPR Geocells government Green Brexit Green Infrastructure Green Infratructure guidance guides Health Helliwell Help Henry Kuppen Horse Chestnut horticulture HRH HRH Prince Charles HS2 HSE ICF Infographic InfraGreen International Urban Forestry Congress Investigating Tree Archaeology Conference Irma ISA iso i-Tree IUFC Job Karabiner Kew land-based Landscape Institute Landscape Show landscaping Lantra law Leaf Minor Lectures London LTOA Mayor of London Melbourne Member Benefit mentor Midlands moth' NASA National Geographic National Tree Week NATO News nominations Northern notification NTIS NTOA NTOC oak 'oak Oak Processionary Moth Oak-boring Beetle obituary Observatree opm Padua parks parliament Perennial Pests and Diseases petition Phytophthora planning Planning Law planting Plumpton College policy poll Power Prince Charles Prince of Wales processionary Protect and Survive protected tree protection Quotatis ramorum Registered Registered Consultant Registered Consultants Rememberance Day Report Rescue research Resilience response review RFS rhs rigging Rodney Helliwell rogue tree surgeons RSFS Safety Safety Bulletin Saftey Scotland Scottish Branch SDG Accord security seminars Share Sheffield Show Site Guidance skills SocEnv soils South East staff statement statutory STIHL strategy student Student Conference survey Sustainable Soils Alliance Sweet Chestnut sweet chestnut blight TDAG Technical Officers tender Thames & Chiltern The Arboricultural Association The Woodland Trust Thinking Arbs Day Timbersports Tools TPO Trading Standards trailblazer training transport Tree Tree Champion Tree Council Tree Health Tree Inspection tree loss tree management Tree of the year Tree Officer Tree officers tree species Tree Surgeons Tree Week tree-felling TreeRadar trees Trees, People and the Built Environment trust' trustee Trustees TrustMark UAG Uitlity UK favourite ukas UKWAS urban forest Urban Forestry Urban Tree Cover urban trees VETcert veteran trees video Videos volunteer VTA Wales webinars website Western Westonbirt Wharton women in arboriculture woodland woodland trust woods World Environment Day young arborists

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Arboricultural Association.

Share this story

i-Tree Eco – Is it having an impact on the urban tree resource?

Last Updated:  19/06/2018

i-Tree Eco ( and is intended to provide the evidence needed to justify more and better management of urban trees so that everyone gains from the benefits they provide. But is that actually happening across Great Britain? Have i-Tree Eco surveys led to more awareness, resources and collaboration, or perhaps better policies and management?

Forest Research conducted an evaluation study of i-Tree Eco surveys to try to understand more about the positive impacts they have had (or not) and what might have helped or hindered the delivery of impacts. The evaluation study included an in-depth literature and policy review, an online questionnaire and interviews. The interviews focused on some of the earliest projects as these were the most likely to have a legacy worth evaluating, namely: Swansea/The Tawe Valley and Bridgend in Wales; Edinburgh and Glasgow in Scotland; and Torbay and Sidmouth in England. These were completed between 2011 and 2016.

What have been the impacts on knowledge, resources and collaboration?

The study revealed that i-Tree Eco can and does help to increase knowledge and awareness, for example about the local tree population. The i-Tree Eco projects that were evaluated also helped those who were involved to better understand why urban trees are important and the benefits provided by them, such as air purification and carbon sequestration.

They were some, albeit limited, examples of skills development and new funding, suggesting there may be opportunities for leveraging new resources following an i-Tree Eco survey. However, the full potential for leverage is still to be realised.

The i-Tree Eco projects had led to new or improved collaborations, including:

  • between teams and departments within local authorities, such as climate change adaptation teams, transport departments and sustainability units; and
  • between sectors such as private businesses, the health sector, universities, schools, local environment interest groups and specific organisations such as Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs), the Highways Agency, and Forest Research.

This increasing collaboration can contribute to further strengthening of the urban forestry sector into the future.

What has been the impact on policy and practice?

What can be said today about whether i-Tree Eco has had any impact on urban tree management plans and policies across Great Britain?

The evaluation revealed that results from the i-Tree Eco surveys had been used, or were being used, in a range of policies, plans and strategies, including:

  • local development plans,
  • supplementary planning guidance on trees and development
  • neighbourhood plans
  • green infrastructure strategies; and
  • open space strategies

Further, i-Tree Eco results were impacting on additional practices, processes and debates, for example:

  • through tree resilience forums
  • in urban forest master planning processes
  • as support for tree planting programmes
  • within council fora looking at tree services; and
  • by climate change teams in relation to climate change adaptation and targets.

This demonstrates considerable potential for i-Tree Eco surveys to feed into policy and planning processes in Great Britain.

How might i-Tree Eco studies achieve even more impact?

The study also looked at the barriers that may have limited achievement of some of the desired impacts. The barriers were related to knowledge exchange and dissemination, organisations having other priorities, insufficient resources, organisational change and staff turnover, lack of a project champion and senior level buy-in, departments not being joined up, and urban trees being viewed as a negative rather than positive asset. Thus six key lessons to enhance success of future i-Tree Eco studies are:

  • have a clear aim for the i-Tree Eco study
  • have a project champion throughout
  • know who the intended audiences are
  • tailor project outputs carefully for each respective audience
  • be realistic about the resources needed for analysis, reporting and, most importantly, targeted as well as generic dissemination; and
  • use the i-Tree Eco study report to demonstrate the value of urban trees to key social issues, such as health, and help overcome negative attitudes towards trees.

Potential i-Tree Eco project teams should also consider using the findings of this evaluation study and referring to them in future i-Tree Eco project reports. This will help to demonstrate how the urban forestry sector in Great Britain is learning from previous experiences of i-Tree Eco project teams and driving change for enhanced impact and greater resilience.

Teams considering an i-Tree Eco survey for their area should realise that impacts can take time to materialise and will not happen automatically. Given more time for results to be disseminated and utilised it may be that additional impacts will occur, particularly in relation to management and what actually happens on the ground. Overall, i-Tree Eco studies can be a valuable tool to improve the management of urban trees. Understanding how best to communicate and utilise the data and results following completion is perhaps the most important lesson for i-Tree Eco project teams.

To see the outputs from the evaluation study, including eight one-page case study impact summaries, visit

Article taken from Issue 181 of the ARB Magazine.

Article Authors: Clare Hall, Kieron Doick, Liz O’Brien and Kathryn Hand from Forest Research and Suzanne Raum for Imperial College London.