i-Tree is a suite of several different applications that focus on the benefits of urban trees; many specifically address the carbon and greenhouse gas emissions benefits of urban trees. In general, each of these applications requires the user to define a study area (residential home, neighborhood, city, county, etc.). It then uses field inventory & sampling data and/or land cover data to calculate tree and forest structure and the benefits that trees provide. Reports inform users how neighborhood trees contribute to carbon sequestration, building energy savings (through shading and/or blocking wind), air quality improvements, and storm water interception. Some applications assist users in summarizing and evaluating the structure of their urban tree communities and examine management needs.
i-Tree consists of several different applications focused on quantifying the benefits of local trees for neighborhoods and communities. Each application has a unique focus, however several calculate the carbon sequestration and/or energy savings benefits of urban trees.
Inputs and outputs will vary with individual application, but in general the tools require a user to define a project study area and input data about the general land use and the trees in that area (species, size, health), whether from an existing or new dataset. Understanding the effect of trees on building energy use also requires information about tree locations in relation to adjacent buildings.
Outputs vary by application, but generally include reports and graphs of numerical values for the ecosystem services provided by urban trees or forests. These outputs may include benefits such as air quality improvements, carbon sequestration and storage, building energy savings, and storm water interception. The monetary value of these benefits is also reported. Additional outputs may include an evaluation of urban forest structure, management needs, or susceptibility to invasive pest damage.
The original i-Tree suite of tools was launched in 2005 with two urban forest assessment applications. It has since been through many updates and improvements; the 2017 release features a desktop suite and 8 different web applications.
USDA Forest Service in cooperation with several partners