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July 10, 2012

MADISON - Residents of more than 85 communities across Wisconsin answering their doorbell may find someone on the doorstep asking permission to measure the trees on their lot as part of a statewide survey to determine the composition and value of urban trees across Wisconsin.

The Department of Natural Resources has contracted with the Lumberjack Resource Conservation & Development Council to repeat a statewide inventory of Wisconsin's urban and community forests that was first piloted in 2002. Information on the first inventory of Wisconsin's urban forests is available in a U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service report [PDF] (exit DNR). Survey crews are expected to complete their field work by mid-September.

Wisconsin's first inventory determined that there were more than 26.9 million trees in Wisconsin's communities valued at $10.9 billion and quantified the value urban trees have in removing air pollutants and storing carbon. The inventory also showed that urban trees reduce heating and cooling costs to Wisconsin homeowners by $24.3 million annually.

"These urban forest values could be multiplied up to three times by raising the average tree canopy cover over our communities," said Dick Rideout, DNR urban forestry coordinator. "The statewide average is currently estimated at 14 percent, which gives us lots of opportunity to grow the benefits of urban forests in our cities."

A very timely discovery was that about 20 percent of all trees in Wisconsin communities are ash. With emerald ash borer gaining a foothold in the state, this insect threatens 5.4 million public and private ash trees valued at $1.5 billion which could cost $3 to 4 billion to remove and replace.

The information gathered is used to project the composition, condition and value of trees and the services they provide. The inventory is funded through a grant from the Forest Service and is the first time urban forest inventory plots have been re-measured anywhere in the nation.

The new 2012 data will help managers, businesses and property owners determine what trees to grow and plant, what care is needed to protect their tree investment and what pests may threaten that investment. Data gathered this summer will be analyzed by Forest Service and DNR staff in the coming year and reported back in 2013.

The survey will cover all cities in Dane, Milwaukee and Waukesha counties and the following other communities: Altoona, Antigo, Appleton, Ashland, Beaver Dam, Beloit, Berlin, Bloomer, Burlington, Caledonia, Chippewa Falls, Clintonville, Delavan, Dodgeville, Eau Claire, Evansville, Farmington, Fond du Lac, Fontana, Germantown, Green Bay, Grand Rapids, Greenville, Hobart, Horicon, Howard's Grove, Janesville, Jefferson, Kaukauna, Kenosha, Kimberly, La Crosse, Lake Geneva, Lake Mills, Manitowoc, Mayville, Marshfield, Medford, Menasha, Menomonie, Mequon, Monroe, Mount Pleasant, Neenah, Onalaska, Oshkosh, Paddock Lake, Pleasant Prairie, Plover, Plymouth, Port Edwards, Portage, Prairie du Chien, Prescott, Racine, Rhinelander, Ripon, River Falls, Saratoga, Schofield, Seneca, Shawano, Sheboygan, Somers, Sparta, Spooner, Stevens Point, Sturgeon Bay, Suamico, Superior, Two Rivers, Union Grove, Waterford, Watertown, Wausau, West Bend, Wheatland, Whitewater, Wisconsin Rapids

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Dick Rideout, state urban forestry coordinator - 608-267-0843

Last Revised: Tuesday, July 10, 2012

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