Goshen, Indiana Improves Ecosystem Resilience with Tree Canopy Inventory and Assessment


The tree canopy inventory and assessment project manager expressed that there were not many difficult barriers in this process, particularly due to the fact that the Parks Department superintendent was an early champion for the project. However, building knowledge, skills and relationships were the biggest challenges. There were some constituents that were initially skeptical of forestry work in general, but once the inventory and assessment data were made available, the doubt dissipated.

Aaron Sawatsky-Kingsley, the project manager and forester for the City of Goshen, gave this advice:

"The most important lesson from working on the inventory, canopy assessment, and planting projects has been how critical data collection is. The information we collected has been leveraged in so many ways and the experience of collecting it is essential. It was the best way for me to begin to know my urban forest.”

Questions for discussion

These questions are designed to inspire readers—especially those wanting to learn broadly about climate change solutions—to think critically about the case study on this page and encourage deeper, more meaningful conversations. A list of ERIT case studies that include discussion questions can be found on the Resilient Communities Case Studies page. 

  1. Describe a situation in which it would be a good idea to introduce tree species to an urban landscape that are different from historically native species. 
  2. What are the challenges of putting a price tag on the benefits of urban trees? Why do you think it might still be important to do so? 
  3. Data collection is an important first step in setting goals. Why might it be important to update data and assessments regularly?

Project resources

For more information about Goshen's tree canopy inventory and assessment, contact: 
Aaron Sawatsky-Kingsley
Forester, Parks and Recreation Division of Forestry, City of Goshen