Tree Inventory of UBC Farm

Tree Inventory of UBC Farm


Project Team

  • Terry Sunderland, Principal investigator, Sunderland Lab, Faculty of Forestry
  • Joli Borah, Postdoctoral fellow
  • Alida O’Connor, PhD student
  • Winy Vasquez, PhD student
  • Diling Liang Master’s student
  • Abimbola Ilemobayo, Master’s student
  • Krystelle Saller, Undergraduate student


UBC Farm Seed Funding for Research


About the Project

Juxtaposed with the agricultural production systems at the UBC Farm is a large area of second-growth forest that is currently classified as an area for agroforestry. This remnant forest, the largest contiguous forested area of campus, is composed of a variety of tree species including western red cedar, coastal Douglas fir, western hemlock, grand fir, among many others. While this forest is not currently actively managed for agroforestry or forestry production, it provides an unparalleled resource on campus for research and learning. This project will undertake a 100% inventory of all trees >10cm diameter at breast height (DBH), identify and record them in a UBC campus-wide database format, and share the data on an open-source platform for students and researchers at UBC to access. This will provide the necessary baseline for further research on urban forestry, ecosystem services, biodiversity, climate change, potential sustainable timber production, and agroforestry, among others, to take place at UBC Farm. The inventory will also help in locating invasive plant species, which can then be removed as necessary. The inventory represents an essential tool for the future sustainable management of the remaining forest on the UBC Farm. In short, if we don’t know what is there, we cannot manage it!


Research questions

  • What trees are present in the forest regions surrounding UBC, and in what quantities?
  • What types of defects do the local trees possess and do any pose as potential public safety risks?
  • What invasive plants are present in these areas?


Each tree in the agroforestry section of the Farm over 10cm diameter at breast height (DBH) will be identified and assessed for defects, notably those that render an individual tree either a potential risk to the visiting public or as an assessment of compromised productive function. To maintain consistency with the protocol used for the UBC campus tree inventory, other tree attributes measured will include: DBH, total tree height, height to crown base, crown width, percentage canopy missing, and crown light exposure. Each tree will receive a unique number and then will be permanently tagged with aluminum tree tags for ease of identification and accessioning. The ArcGIS Collector app will also be used to visualize the inventory map and data and data collected in the remnant forest of the UBC Farm could potentially also use this on-line system.


Project expected impact

This project will lead to the development of UBC Farm’s first 100% tree assessment, acting as a baseline for future projects and research, as well as acting as a teaching opportunity for research project members.


External Links

Sunderland Lab

Tree Inventory Tableau Visualization

Tree Inventory Report

i-Tree Ecosystem Analysis Report