Press release from Merano - tree heritage is surveyed from above

JUSTNature project: Tree heritage is surveyed from above

In the second half of February, the vegetation of the entire municipal area will be detected by a helicopter with a laser scan. Under good weather, a helicopter will fly over the city for two consecutive days at 350-400 meters above the ground.

The city of Merano is known for its historical tree heritage. Thanks to new technologies, this heritage can be recorded more precisely for the first time as part of the Horizon2020 JUSTNature project.

Merano is one of the seven European pilot cities participating in the five-year JUSTNature project. In addition to the ecological redevelopment of public green spaces, another objective is conserving the precious tree heritage in the city's urban area.

With the help of the local company Alto Drones and scientific partners from all over Europe, the fairly new method of large-scale laser surveying and especially the complex evaluation of the immense amount of data will be further developed, and cloud as large as the municipal size will have to be filtered and sorted in many hours of computation. Merano occupies an exceptional position in Europe thanks to its enormous diversity of native and exotic tree species. The existing public tree register will help the algorithms to distinguish the most characteristic tree species.

Identikit of the "climate trees."

Furthermore, we will identify private trees of particular value using the data from the surveys. These will then receive a free evaluation by an expert as "climate trees" of the city; 100-200 such assessments could be funded by the JustNature project. In addition to the high maintenance costs of large trees, the liability for damages like falling branches will greatly burden the owners, and a tree expert can reduce the risk of this harm.

"It is necessary and it is time to raise public awareness of the enormous value of private trees for the citizens and for urban landscape", says Marco Masin, head of the green and environmental management service. The goal is to raise awareness of the work involved in proper tree care. Tree owners often receive not only too little recognition but even hostility also from their neighbours due to falling leaves in autumn or shading outside of the warm season.

"With heat waves becoming increasingly frequent, life in the city would be unbearable without humidification, cooling, air filtration and noise absorption. Air filtration and noise absorption by trees," Anni is convinced by Schwarz, the project manager.

"JUSTNature gives us the opportunity to get a better overview of our valuable tree stock in the city's settlement area and to support private tree owners," says Katharina Zeller, Deputy Mayor and Councilor for the Environment. In addition to allowing LIDAR surveys, helicopter flights will also enable new orthophotos of the city.

You can read this news in original languages in Italian and German