Unveiling UC Davis' Arboreal Riches

Mapping the Campus Canopy

In the bustling landscape of the University of California, Davis, lies a silent community of guardians—towering sentinels that silently witness the ebb and flow of campus life. These guardians, however, have been given newfound recognition and care through an ambitious project aimed at understanding, mapping, and preserving UC Davis' arboreal riches.

Tree Inventory Graphic with Heat Map

Led by a collaborative effort involving various campus entities, including Campus Planning, Arboretum and Public Garden, Real Estate Services, and more, this project embarked on a monumental task: to meticulously catalog every tree under UC Davis' ownership across its vast expanse. This endeavor was not merely about counting trees; it was about understanding and nurturing a vital aspect of the campus ecosystem.

The project's beginning dates back to the fall of 2022, with teams traversing every nook and cranny of the campus, from central hubs to remote reserves like Putah Creek Reserve and Wolfskill Ranch. The scope was not limited to the Davis campus alone but extended to encompass UC Davis Medical Center as well. It was an endeavor marked by dedication, determination, and a shared vision of environmental stewardship.

At the heart of this project lies a deeper purpose: to lay the groundwork for a comprehensive Urban Forest Management Plan. By accurately mapping and assessing each tree's vital statistics—species, height, diameter, and health—campus stakeholders can now develop targeted strategies for maintenance, sustainability, and growth.

Challenges abounded along the way, from defining what constitutes a "tree" to navigating property boundaries. Yet, through meticulous planning and innovative approaches, these challenges were met with resilience and resolve. The project's success hinges on the collective effort of passionate individuals who recognize the intrinsic value of every leafy denizen that graces the campus grounds.

"The impact of this project reverberates far beyond the confines of academia. For the university community, it means safer, more navigable spaces with identifying and systematically mitigating risk. It also entails incorporating environmental considerations into construction projects, thereby ensuring that the campus's natural splendor remains intact," shared Tyler Kern, Campus Arborist.

Looking ahead, this inventory serves as more than just a snapshot of the present—it lays the foundation for future endeavors. It paves the way for an Urban Forest Master Plan, guiding decisions on tree planting, conservation, and sustainability for generations to come.

As we marvel at the lush tapestry that adorns UC Davis, let us also recognize the dedication and foresight that have made this project possible. In mapping the campus canopy, we are not just counting trees; we are sowing the seeds of a greener, more vibrant future.

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