Community Tree Inventories

Many of Iowa's communities have had community tree inventories and management plans completed  as a cooperative effort between the communities, forestry professionals, Iowa DNR Forestry Bureau, and the USDA Forest Service. To see if your community has an inventory or to see what trees are in your town, please visit Forestry's interactive GIS website. If your community has not had an inventory completed yet, please contact local city officials to share your interest.

What is a Community Tree Inventory? Tree inventory

A tree inventory is the gathering of accurate information on the health and diversity of the community forest. How many street trees are there? What kind? In what condition are they? You cannot manage the community forest effectively unless you know its condition. Tree inventories are an essential tool of good management.

Why conduct a Community Tree Inventory?

To know more information about the existing trees and to further tree management and planning.

Top 10 reasons to get a Community Tree Inventory.
  • The city can use the results to calculate the benefits the trees in your community provide the city and its residents.

  • The city can use the results and the calculated benefits to reach out to the public and cultivate a greater understanding of the benefits these trees provide to a community.
  • With a complete knowledge of city owned trees the city can create a comprehensive, long-term management plan and a corresponding budget. 
  • Using the calculated benefits, staff can fully justify your budget request. 
  • It assesses potential hazard trees in order to protect citizen's property and safety. 
  • It allows the city to make informed management decisions and increases the efficiency of city staff.
  • It will assist the city in determining short and long term tree management and canopy goals. 
  • It allows the city to move from a reactive system where it is responding to storm events, invasive disease or pests, or other catastrophes, to a system where the city can be managed to withstand these disasters. 
  • It enables the city to establish and determine the direction of its forestry program. 
  • Overall, an inventory allows a city to maintain and grow a healthy, stable, and productive urban forest. 


Types of Inventoriestrimble unit

  • Complete inventory: surveys the entire tree population of a community, but can be time consuming and expensive.
  • Street and park tree inventory: surveys city owned trees in right-of-ways and parks.

  • Sample or partial inventory: gathers data from specific samples and is extrapolated to apply to the whole urban forest.

  • Canopy cover inventory: uses LiDAR and land cover data to determine the canopy cover of a community.

For communities with populations under 5,000 assistance is available. For more information, contact Emma Hanigan at  or call 515-249-1732.

Community Tree Inventory Quick Sheet

Urban Forestry Management Plans
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