What is a Tree Inventory?

tree inventory

In order to make effective management decisions, including financial strategies and priorities, a comprehensive tree inventory and planting sites is required. It can also help to discover pest or disease concerns, as well as the needs of newly planted trees for irrigation, pruning, and other types of upkeep

Tree commissions can use this data to plan, prioritise, and budget tree removals, maintenance, and plantings on an annual basis. They can also assess the worth of their community’s trees in terms of increasing property values and improving stormwater management, underscoring the significance of a tree programme for local authorities. The number, age, and species of trees in a community forest change over time. As evidence in cases of liability, a can show that there was no negligence in the maintenance or inspection of public trees. Additionally, an inventory can help the community forest’s chances of securing grants and other financial aid.

Types of tree inventory

Sample, partial, and comprehensive inventories are the three most common forms of inventory.  In order to get an estimate of the urban forest, a random sample of street segments, blocks, road kilometres, or area is taken. The typical sample size is between 3% and 10%. Alternatively, the sample might be sorted into groups. A non-random location is selected for a partial inventory. It could be a physical location, like a city centre. There may be several phases to the process, each of which will finally result in a thorough inventory of the property. A survey is used to gather information from a vast area, such as an entire town, about a few specific characteristics. Surveys are frequently carried out by car. 

Street trees, parks and municipal sites can all be included in a comprehensive tree inventory. Stump locations and viable planting locations can also be included. 

Work-order management systems are frequently integrated with both partial and comprehensive inventories. Work-order management systems for other municipal infrastructure may be connected with these. 

How often do they take place

Old man doing a comprehensive tree inventory

Periodic or continuous updates are possible for any of these types of inventories. An inventor should be linked to a GIS and kept up to date on a regular basis in order to be most effective. It might cost anywhere from a few thousand dollars up to $40, 000 for an inventory. The number of trees surveyed and the amount of attributes gathered are two of the most significant cost factors. The inventory’s objectives should be reflected in the qualities. To begin with, the location, species, size and condition of the tree should be included, but other qualities, such as tree risk rating, pests or care demands may also be helpful. 

When it comes to trees, what exactly is a tree inventory? 

Completing an inventory can aid in a variety of ways, including:

  • Improve work-scheduling and cycle maintenance
  • Improve the capacity to respond to storm damage and estimate expenses
  • Enhance efficiency when responding to constituent requests 

It is possible to accomplish all of these goals with a partial tree inventory, but it is limited in scope. 

A tree survey can be very useful 

An initial inventory should be done to lay the groundwork for a more complete approach for the below: 

  • Determining the number of locations where trees could be planted in the neighbourhood.
  • Creating a system for tree risk management

If you’re looking to gain support and funding from your local government, or if you need to develop an advocacy network for community trees, a sample tree inventory is the best option for you. 


Volunteers are capable of doing tree inventories, but we recommend consulting an arborist for those that incorporate risk assessment. Additionally, an arborist needs are certified by the International Society of Arboriculture in order to be considered a qualified arborist.