Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Tree Advisor: A Novel Woody Plant Selection Tool to Support Multifunctional Objectives



Publication type:

Scientific Journal (JRNL)

Primary Station(s):

Washington Office




Purposefully planted trees and shrubs can provide multiple benefits when appropriately planned and designed. Tools to help select species that will function more effectively than other species for ecosystem services, production, and aesthetic purposes are generally lacking. To address this challenge, we developed an interactive plant selection tool entitled Tree Advisor that rates woody species for a wide range of different purposes based on plant attributes. In this prototype decision support tool, 90 species of trees and shrubs are rated for 14 different purposes in the northern and central Great Plains region of the United States. A rating algorithm was developed based on the scientific literature regarding plant functions and related attributes that determine relative performance of a species for each purpose. User input and best practices for developing effective decision support tools informed the tool development process. Based on user feedback, the tool supports multifunctional planning and enables a user to quickly develop a short list of the better species to use which can then be refined by the user based on suitability under local site conditions, commercial availability, and availability of locally adapted cultivars and hybrids. This tool development approach can serve as a model for producing multifunctional woody plant selection tools for other ecoregions.


Bentrup, Gary; Dosskey, Michael G. 2022. Tree Advisor: A Novel Woody Plant Selection Tool to Support Multifunctional Objectives. Land. 11(3): 397-.


Publication Notes

  • We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
  • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.