SUNY Oswego Landscape Infrastructure Inventory

C&S’s landscape architects conducted an inventory of trees, shrubs and landscape beds on the SUNY Oswego campus as part of a campus wide infrastructure study. The trees and shrubs of a college campus are not only an aesthetic amenity, but serve a variety of important environmental functions, including carbon sequestration, air pollution reduction, reduced energy costs, increased stormwater infiltration, and psychological benefits for the campus community. Over a period of three weeks, 1,358 individual trees were inventoried, along with 70 individual shrubs, 152 tree groups, 31 shrub groups, and 19 mixed groups. The inventoried plants were evaluated in four ways:

  1. Genus and species were identified.
  2. A measurement of diameter at breast height was taken.
  3. A condition assessment was given.
  4. Priority maintenance tasks were identified.

The data collected for the trees was loaded into iTree Streets software, a digital database that allows managers of urban forests to calculate cost/benefit relationships, analyze tree population characteristics, and manage maintenance priorities. The software calculates the dollar value of environmental benefits provided, including reduced energy costs, carbon sequestration, air pollution reduction and increased storm water infiltration. The analysis found that the trees sequester approx. 230,902 pounds of CO2 annually. The director of facilities maintenance operations at SUNY Oswego commented that the analysis “will aid in my future planting proposals, especially in demonstrating how those plantings can reduce our carbon footprint, in support of President Stanley signing the American Colleges and University Presidents Climate Commitment. The site survey and i-Tree will also act as a valuable management tool in the maintenance of this natural resource.” A report documenting findings with recommendations for improving landscaping practices throughout the campus was provided to the college, including maintenance recommendations that should be considered to improve sustainability.