The data collected on the urban forest in the Chicago region is the most extensive regional dataset on urban forestry in the country. The combination of spatial, on-the-ground, and operations capacity data provides a broad foundation for education and outreach across the seven county Chicago region.
The Chicago Region Trees Initiative (CRTI), founded by The Morton Arboretum, was organized to improve the health of the urban forest in the seven county Chicago Region. The CRTI has collected one of the most significant urban forestry data sets in the county to provide a clear vision for a holistic approach to improve the urban forest and quality of life for Chicago region residents. The CRTI has collected and combined extensive datasets. These datasets included LiDAR, aerial imagery, land cover, forest inventories (private and public), forest management capacity, socio-economic data, pre-settlement ecosystem mapping, human and tree health data, among others. The resulting analyses help identify a community's unique list of challenges (low canopy cover, high poverty, poor health, etc.) and opportunities (strong forestry program, remnant woodlands, community engagement, etc.). By recognizing challenges and opportunities at varying scales, strategies can be successfully tailored to improve the urban forest.
American Forests, U.S. Forest Service, The McQuaid Family Foundation, The Morton Arboretum