Ready, Set, Count!



During the week of September 30 – October 7, tree lovers across San Francisco and throughout the Capital region will join together to help map the trees of our great cities in the First Annual Great Tree Count!

  • For San Francisco residents and visitors: Log on and add or update trees on the San Francisco Urban Forest Map.
  • For visitors and residents in the six counties of the Sacramento region: Log on and add or update trees on the GreenprintMaps.

Why, you might reasonably ask?

Well, knowledge of the urban forest — where the trees are, what species are represented, how old and healthy they are, the distribution of trees geographically — has great value for urban forest managers, planners, city foresters, ecologists, landscape architects, tree advocacy groups, and residents, too. But it’s not easy for them to come by the knowledge that is necessary. A professional inventory of all the public trees in San Francisco, for example, would cost millions of dollars. And even then we’d have no information about all of the trees on public property.

That’s where you, tree lover and citizen forester, come in. You can help fill the gaps in our knowledge by adding trees to the two Tree Maps or by updating the information that is sometimes already there.

But what is the value of this information?

The information we gather will help urban foresters and city planners to better care for the trees that need the most help, track and fight tree pests and diseases, and plan future tree plantings to get a better mix of species and ensure we are doing what needs to be done to have a healthy, solid urban forest in the future. In addition, climatologists can use the data to better understand the effects of urban forests on climates, biologists can use it to better understand how trees support urban wildlife and a healthy ecosystem, and students and citizen scientists can use it to learn about the role trees play in the urban ecosystem.

Who can take part?

We’ve set it up so that really anyone can help. All you need is some kind of access to the Internet–a smartphone, tablet, or computer back at your desk will all work. No special knowledge is needed. We’ll be providing you with the tools you need to identify the kind of tree you’re looking at, to measure how big it is, and anything else that’s important.

Alright, how do I get started?

So glad to have you on board! You can dive in right now and start exploring the map for your city–San Francisco or the six county Capital Region–if you feel comfortable. Or, during the month of September, we’ll be running a “Bootcamp Training” session to get you ready for the big week.