A study released earlier this year by the U.S. Forest Service analyzed 20 cities and found that urban tree cover was decreasing in 17 of them and impervious cover was increasing in 16.

At the beginning of October, the Forest Service and its partners released i-Tree 5.0. This tool is now available on tablets and mobile devices and can be used to analyze tree cover in Australia and Canada, as well as in the U.S. The tool can help planners determine the best species and planting spots. It can also be used to calculate urban tree benefits — from cooling to runoff reduction. According to the Forest Service, urban trees provide as much as $2500 in environmental services, with monetary returns that are three times greater than their maintenance costs. The new version also enables users to collect and enter field data, and another new function forecasts the growth and benefits of trees through time, based on species and location-specific growth models. Read more.