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Posted 03 November 2010

10,000 trees between the Grand and Royal Canals in Dublin, survey shows

1 tree for every 50 residents, and 2,500 street trees

Using Google Earth, Bing Maps, and active fieldwork, a UCD Geography PhD student has catalogued the trees between the Grand and Royal Canals in Dublin’s city centre. This is the first time a comprehensive survey of trees in the city centre has been completed.

The survey findings published in Irish Geography show over 10,000 trees covering more than 800,497 sq metres between the two canals, or 6% of the total land area.

Photo far right, courtesy Bing Maps

Approximately, 63% of the trees were identified as being located in private spaces (such as gardens), and 37% were recorded in public spaces. According to the data, there is one tree for every 50 residents living between the canals.

Of the 10,000 plus trees identified, 2,500 (25%) were tagged as ‘street trees’ – trees located along streets. Each of these ‘street trees’ was individually surveyed during 9 months of fieldwork to capture more detailed information including: species, size, age, and the health status.

“Street trees can play a particular role in urban design and city planning,” explains Tine Ningal, the UCD Geography PhD student who conducted the survey.  “Placed along roadsides and in the median strip of busy streets, they can be used to regulate access to sunshine, restrict air flow, provide shelter, scavenge air pollutants and manage noise at street level.”

“This survey shows that 84% of Dublin city centre’s 2,500 street trees belong to just 4 species – Lime (38%); London Plane (27%); Maple (14%); and Hornbeam (5%).”

The researchers also estimate that the ‘street trees’ convert about 42,000 kg of carbon each year (equivalent to over 40,000 car trips in the city centre). And store approximately 1 million kg of carbon at any given time. They also suggest that 81% of the carbon storage is conducted by just one species of tree: the London Plane.

“A tree planting policy can be an important part of a broader environmental strategy aimed at improving the quality of life in urban areas but this requires up-to-date knowledge of the current tree stock,“ says Dr Gerald Mills from the UCD School of Geography Planning and Environmental Policy who supervised the research. 

“This work provides the first comprehensive inventory of trees in Dublin’s city centre, defined as the area between the Grand and Royal Canals. The inventory is a first step toward an assessment of the environmental value of Dublin’s trees”


(Produced by UCD University Relations)


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Photo far right: courtesy Bing Maps
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