Inventory counts 4,166 public trees

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Crawfordsville has 4,166 trees on public land, bringing an economic benefit of more than half a million dollars, according to an inventory of the urban tree forest.

A new online map pinpoints the spot of every tree in the city’s right-of-ways and parks. The public can track the species and diameter of trees in their neighborhood, while city employees will have access to more detailed information on the health of the trees.

“This inventory is not on a binder that goes on a shelf,” said Sue Lucas, program manager of Crawfordsville Main Street, which provided funding for the project along with the Indiana Department of Natural Resources and Tipmont REMC.

Beginning last August, crews from The Davey Tree Expert Co. fanned out across town, documenting the age and conditions of the trees. The company will report the results of the inventory to the city council sometime this winter.

The inventory and related management plan is meant to help city street, utility and parks crews identify and properly replace hazardous trees. The public map can be accessed at www.crawfordsvillein.treekeepersoftware.com.

A grant from IDNR covers the cost of the software for one year, “but after that, the city will have to say if it’s a good investment,” Lucas said.

Midwest native sugar maple is the most common species in the public canopy, representing 607 trees. Other frequent species include tulip, black locust and eastern white pine.

The inventory also counted stumps and vacant areas where trees could be planted.

The city’s public trees have total yearly economic benefits of more than $573,280, according to the online database. The benefits include nearly 6.7 million gallons of saved water and close to 1.2 million pounds of carbon dioxide sequestered.

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