Researching the Impact of Trees in an Urban Setting

Alyssa and HulliomsAlyssa Straits, Bioengineering,  Hulliams Kamlem, Public Health


Most people do not think about the health benefits of trees and their contribution to the embellishment of UIC’s campus as a whole. Our internship has been dedicated to keeping an up-to-date inventory of the 5,000 trees on and around campus. Managing the campus’ tree inventory not only provides valuable data that is useful in determining the health, economic, and social benefits of trees and urban forestry, it also offers learning experiences for the UIC community. Keeping a current inventory of UIC’s trees upholds the university’s status as an environmentally-friendly institution. As Tree Campus Interns, we have provided primary support for managing UIC’s tree inventory through measurement, location identification, and species specification. We have ultimately identified the need for a holistic approach for campus health and wellness, with trees being a determining asset.


  • Update UIC’s tree inventory
  • Enter data into iTree, a software developed by the USDA Forest Service for urban forestry analysis
  • Maintain Tree Campus USA recognition

Relationship to Sustainability

  • Urban Heat Island Effect
  • Urban Forest
  • Pollution removal

Tools Used to Inventory

  • GPS: exact tree location
  • Biltmore stick: DBH & Height
  • Measuring tape: DBH, Height & Crown Spread
  • Map: to help find newly planted trees

Data Analysis from iTree

2014tree BenMAP

2014tree pollutants removed


  • 300 Trees inventoried
  • Structural value: $14,226
  • Annual Carbon Sequestered: 1,564 lbs.

Top 5 species planted in 2014

Crabapple Total: 20 Varieties: 4

Total: 20
Varieties: 4

Elm Total: 56 Varieties: 4

Total: 56
Varieties: 4

Oak Total: 47 Varieties: 6

Total: 47
Varieties: 6

Maple Total: 21 Varieties: 3

Total: 21
Varieties: 3

Linden Total: 27 Varieties: 2

Total: 27
Varieties: 2

Recommendations for the Future

  • Detailed maps of tree location
  • Fostering the knowledge of different tree species
  • Greater Involvement of students on the Tree Care Committee
  • Tree Plantings
  • Greater Diversity of Trees