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An inventory of trees in Dublin city centre

Tine Ningal, Gerald Mills, Pamela Smithwick


While urban areas are often considered to be comprised chiefly of artificial surfaces, they can contain a substantial portion of green space and a great diversity of natural habitats. These spaces include public parks, private gardens and street trees, all of which can provide valuable environmental services, such as improved air quality. Trees play a particular role in cities as they are often placed along roadsides and in the median strip of busy streets. As such they regulate access to sunshine, restrict airflow, provide shelter, scavenge air pollutants and manage noise at the street level. 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, which does not exist for Dublin. This article presents an inventory of trees in Dublin’s city centre, defined as the area between the Grand and Royal canals. The results show that there are over 10,000 trees in the study area representing a density of 684 trees km-2 or one tree to approximately every 50 residents of the city centre. The tree canopy extent when in full foliage was nearly 1km2 in extent or 6% of the study area. A more detailed analysis of those trees planted along streets shows little species variation but clear distinction in the sizes of trees, which is indicative of the age of planting. These data are used to estimate the carbon stored in Dublin’s trees.

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