Branching out with Baton Rouge Green

Baton Rouge Green Program Director Robert Seeman. Photo by Collin Richie.

The “stately oaks and broad magnolias” of our beloved Baton Rouge are well-known staples of its unique legacy of Southern beauty and charm. But did you know that today there are tens of thousands of trees living among us in our city?

Thanks to the work of trained arborists and technicians at Baton Rouge Green, these trees are being cataloged using an urban forestry map in an effort to create an inventory of all public trees in East Baton Rouge Parish. Wearing yellow hard hats with the Baton Rouge Green logo, urban forestry technicians are literally out in the field all year long, using special tools to convert a trunk’s circumference into diameter in order to calculate each tree’s ecological benefits.

According to Program Director Robert Seeman (pictured), the purpose of the i-Tree inventory project is to identify and locate local trees so they can be efficiently managed and cared for. The inventory, which is accessible on batonrougegreen.com, provides information on the monetary and ecological benefits of each individual tree—in areas including air quality, energy conservation, property value and stormwater management.

This data is used by professionals but is also intended to educate the public on the importance of our city’s trees.

“We want people to engage physically with trees,” says Seeman. “It is vital that we understand the ecosystem services these trees provide that literally keep us alive in a city like ours.”

Seeman applauds the city of Baton Rouge for its progressive attitude toward the project and says the partnership has been an extremely beneficial and efficient one.

“Today there are 15,444 trees catalogued, and that number is growing every day,” he says. “We should easily have 20,000 by the end of the year.”

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