Knowing the science behind the impacts of community tree plantings has shaped the way KIB approaches our work. With neighborhood tree planting requests coming from the grass root level it is validating to see our efforts have a direct impact on helping people and nature thrive.
Below are two initiatives that have helped shape our Community Forestry Program:
Bloomington Urban Forest Research Group
Using the robust data set of trees Keep Indianapolis Beautiful maintains, the Bloomington Urban Forest Research Group (BUFRG) began collecting field data in the summer of 2012. Studying trees as a Socio-Ecological System; based partly on the work of the late Nobel laureate Elenor Ostrom.
Under the direction of Burney Fischer, Sarah Mincey and Jess Vogt looked at the relationship that KIB planted trees have with the surrounding communities. Studying the impacts of maintenance regimens on tree survivability, and the spillover effects of tree tending and social cohesion. Five more cities are now working with IU to begin to study these ecological and social benefits or urban forestry.
In 2012 and 2013, KIB worked with the Institute for Research on Social Issues to create a prototype for a web-based Indianapolis Geographic Information System (GIS) interactive map, with the focus centered on the Near Eastside. The IUPUI Solution Center provided this partnership opportunity through the Chase Near Eastside Legacy Initiative with the generous support of the JPMorgan Chase Foundation as well as the Solution Center’s own Community Venture Fund.
This work will serve as an updated tool from our earlier mapping partnership with IUPUI in 2006; looking at such factors as Ecology, Socio-Ecological Systems, Health, Urban Forestry, Sociology, Business, Criminal Justice. The long term goal for the project is to further develop a ‘hotspot map’ to articulate the connections of tree canopy to a healthy city and to inform KIB’s strategic direction.