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i-Tree Eco Tool gaining traction in Mexico

MEXICO – i-Tree is a suite of tools designed by the USDA Forest Service and partners to quantify the environmental services and values trees provide. To promote use of the recently-released i-Tree Eco tool for Mexico, the International Programs office coordinated a workshop in Mexico City on August 7-10 for 30 participants from eight Mexican states.

More than just a simple quantification tool, i-Tree has the potential to help address larger social issues, with the tool serving as a platform to educate the public and decision makers about the importance of urban trees and to advocate for their protection, proper maintenance and expansion. Al Zelaya of the Davey Institute facilitated the workshop, along with in-country partners from the national research institute, INIFAP and the Mexican Fund for the Conservation of Nature provided logistical and technical support.

Through a mix of classroom and field-based learning, participants were exposed to i-Tree’s suite of tools and gained a deeper understanding of how i-Tree can be used by urban planners, advocacy groups, researchers and educational professionals.

On the first day of the workshop, participants learned about the user-friendly, globally available i-Tree Canopy tool, which allows users to rapidly assess tree cover and other cover types in an area of interest. The latter two days of the workshop focused on i-Tree Eco, which uses field data along with local air pollution and meteorological data to quantify forest structure, environmental effects and value to communities. Participants learned how to plan and create projects, conduct urban tree inventories, and analyze and report on data outputs. Throughout the week, participants shared common technical challenges they face in their cities, including rapid growth, flooding, pollution, improper tree care, etc.

USFS-IP and its partners also coordinated a successful informational meeting to introduce the tool to high-level government offices, NGO directors and business executives.

For more information and to download the tool, visit the i-Tree website.

iTree trainer, Al Zelaya of the Davey Institute, explains inventory methods to workshop participants. Forest Service photo by Rachel Sheridan.

iTree Eco Mexico workshop participants, who hailed from eight states throughout Mexico. Photo courtesy photo of Rosanna Landa.