Skip to main content

Morton Arboretum Chicago Regional Tree Census

Photo courtesy of The Morton Arboretum

The Morton Arboretum, an internationally recognized outdoor tree museum and tree research center located in Lisle, is launching the 2020 Chicago Regional Tree Census. This scientific project to count and assess the state of trees across the seven-county Chicago region will guide tree planting and care, and inform scientific research about urban trees. Combined with the data from a similar study conducted in 2010, the study, that began last month and will continue through October, will provide scientists with an important baseline of change in the region’s trees for future research.

Crews from the Davey Resource Group will visit 1,600 sample plots that were also surveyed in 2010 on public and private property. The Morton Arboretum is requesting cooperation from residents and property owners in allowing access. Nicole Cavender, Ph.D., vice president of science and conservation, says, “Chicago’s regional urban forest provides many benefits, and is a critical part of our community infrastructure, just like roads and storm sewers, but it needs attention.”

She notes that the region’s current tree coverage ranges from 3 percent to 66 percent, which points to inequities across communities. “There is work to do to make the Chicago region more verdant, livable and resilient, and the census will provide critical insights into how we get there,” Cavender adds.

As the champion of trees, the arboretum is committed to scientifically informed action, locally and globally, and encouraging the planting and conservation of trees for a greener, healthier and more beautiful world.

For more information, visit