Southwark Borough Council i-Tree Eco Inventory Report

Report Summary

In this report, the trees managed by Southwark Borough Council have been assessed based on a range of benefits that they provide to society. These trees, which form part of Southwark’s natural capital, are generally recognised and appreciated for their amenity, presence and stature in the cityscape. However, society is often unaware of the many other benefits, known as ecosystem services, that trees provide to those living in our towns and cities.

The trees in and around our urban areas (together with shrubs, hedges, open grass, green space and wetland) are collectively known as the ‘urban forest’. This urban forest improves our air through removing pollutants, protects watercourses, saves energy, and improves economic sustainability.

There are also many health and well-being benefits associated with being in close proximity to trees,
and there is a growing research base to support this. Southwark’s publicly managed trees are a crucial part of the city’s urban forest. Many of the benefits that Southwark’s urban forest provides are offered through its public trees. Economic valuation of the benefits provided by our natural capital (including the urban forest) can help to mitigate for development impacts, inform land use changes and reduce any potential impact through planned intervention to avoid a net loss of natural capital. Such information can be used to help make better management decisions. Yet, as the benefits provided by such natural capital are often poorly understood, they are often undervalued in the decision making process.

In order to produce values for some of the benefits provided by Southwark’s publicly managed trees, a state of the art, peer reviewed software system called i-Tree Eco (referred to as ‘Eco’ throughout the report) was used. This is a partial analysis as not all trees or ecosystem services were quantified or valued. Therefore the figures presented in this report should be regarded as a conservative estimate.

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Treeconomics is the go-to organisation for the valuing of trees in towns and cities. We specialise in all aspects of urban forest management and offer a range of services, from canopy cover assessments through to comprehensive management plans.