Designing an Urban Forest Inventory System for a Small Municipality: A Case Study of Falls Church, Virginia
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The City of Falls Church, Virginia is an independent city in the Washington, DC metropolitan area, with a population of 13,600 within its two square mile jurisdiction. The City's residents are justifiably proud of their beautiful and extensive urban forest. Falls Church has been a Tree City USA for thirty-six years, longer than any other community in Virginia, and the protection of its mature trees and expansion of its tree canopy are key goals in the City's Comprehensive Plan. This report describes the development and testing of a tree inventory system for the City using the ESRI ArcGIS data mapping platform. The database design and the procedures for data collection are described and illustrated. Strengths and limitations of the ESRI software and hardware options for the purpose of collecting and displaying tree inventory data are considered, and recommendations are made for further development of the inventory system. It is hoped that this case study will be of use to other entities considering the creation of a complete or partial tree inventory.