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    Climbers' CornerTree Academy

    Urban Tree Monitoring: New Research and Standard Protocols


    Urban tree monitoring data can enable researchers and practitioners to evaluate the performance of planting initiatives, in terms of tree growth, mortality and longevity. Through a collaborative process that engages arborists, non-profit leaders, Forest Service scientists, and university researchers, the Urban Tree Growth & Longevity Working Group has been developing standardized monitoring protocols. These protocols have a common core of variables that are essential to any monitoring project – the minimum data set – plus four supplemental data sets that users can select based on their organization’s interests, available resources, and field crew expertise. By producing standard field methods, we will be able to make meaningful comparisons across cities and programs, and improve our collective understanding of the factors influencing tree growth and mortality. This symposium will have presentations on the purpose of standard field protocols, fresh research perspectives, and an overview of the field methods for each data set. The symposium will facilitate continued dialogue among urban forestry professionals and scientists to operationalize these protocols in the years ahead.


    Lara Roman is a Research Ecologist with the USDA Forest Service, Philadelphia Field Station. Her current research uses analytical tools from demography and epidemiology to understand urban tree mortality rates and processes. Lara serves as Secretary of the Urban Tree Growth & Longevity Working Group, and is leading the effort to develop protocols for urban tree monitoring in collaboration with researchers and community foresters across the US. She received a Ph.D. in Environmental Science, Policy and Management at UC Berkeley, where she studied urban tree mortality in Sacramento and Oakland, CA. Lara also holds a Bachelors in Biology and Masters of Environmental Studies from the University of Pennsylvania. She was recognized at UC Berkeley with the Chancellor’s Award for Public Service and Outstanding Graduate Student Instructor Award.

    Bryant Scharenbroch is an Urban Soil Scientist at the Morton Arboretum in Lisle, IL. He is the primary investigator of The Morton Arboretum Soil Science (MASS) laboratory ( The MASS laboratory performs research, extension, and education activities relating to urban ecology, nutrient cycling, soil quality, tree health, and soil classification. MASS research focuses on anthropogenic effects on soils and ecosystem functioning in forests, prairies, and urban landscapes. Bryant received a Ph.D. in Soil Science from the U. Wisconsin-Madison (2007), a M.S. in Plant Science from U. Idaho (2003), and B.S. degrees from U. Wisconsin – Stevens Point in Urban Forestry (2001) and Forest Management (2001). Bryant is an ISA Certified Arborist, Associate Editor for Arboriculture and Urban Forestry, Vice-Chair of the ISA Urban Tree Growth & Longevity Working Group, and the Chair of the Midwest Urban Tree Care Forum. In 2013, Bryant received the ISA’s Early Career Scientist Award. 

    John Mills is a Research Forester in the Resource Monitoring and Assessment Program of the USDA Forest Service Pacific Northwest Research Station in Portland, OR.  He recently led his program’s effort to install roughly 1,000 urban inventory ground plots in 5 Pacific States.  Data collected from the plots has been compiled, made available to the public, and archived for monitoring purposes.  His background is modeling the growth and yield of trees at large scales as part of national assessments of U.S. forest resources. He holds B.S and M.S degrees in forestry and resource economics from Oregon State University

    Sarah Mincey


    Climbers' CornerTree Academy

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