3307 trees from parks and squares in the city centre were measured, described, marked with plates with unique numbers and recorded in the city’s database. This includes exceptional specimens. Trees along streets and near building have also been subject to preliminary inventorying. All this with a view to better taking care of greenery in Szczecin.
The first stage of inventorying, conducted in the summer and autumn, covered all green areas arranged in the centre of Szczecin: squares, parks, lawn areas, including, among others, Stefan Żeromski Park, Gen. Wł. Anders Park, Jasne Błonia commons, Chrobry Embankment, Nadratowski Park - a total of over 41 hectares. The analysis of the collected data allows first conclusions about the urban tree stand, which will mark the future direction of high greenery management.
What else can we learn about Szczecin's greenery? It turns out that parks and squares are clearly dominated by deciduous trees. Coniferous trees account for slightly above 8% of the tree stand. “Despite the fact that the maintenance of shallow rooted coniferous trees is becoming increasingly difficult in the era of extreme drought period, we will adopt measures aimed at increasing the share of the slender silhouettes of fir trees, spruce and pine trees, so valuable for the design of our parks,” asserts Marta Safader-Domańska, City Gardener.
Three most populous species in parks include small-leaved lime, Norway maple, and pedunculate oak, which jointly account for nearly a third of the tree stand in the examined area. “All three species are classified as native species,” explained the City Gardener. “It is a favourable situation because they are best adjusted to the climate and habitat conditions in our country, and are linked by the strongest network of interdependencies with other elements of the ecosystem. The fourth position was taken by the London plane, with a 7% share, one of the symbols of green Szczecin.
During the inventorying works, an impressive amount of 173 tree species were identified, and among them such gems as katsura, Caucasian wingnut, manna ash, foxglove tree, sweet chestnut, and many others. The Stefan Żeromski Park can boast the greatest diversity in this respect, with as many as 110 tree species.
“It demonstrates the unmatched dendrological richness, which only few municipal parks in Poland may boast,” said Marta Safader-Domańska. “The traditions of planting exotic tree specimens will be continued, so that the collection of interesting tree species expands systematically.
“The Żeromski Park is a true haven for dendrologists,” confirmed, Paweł Rychlicki from the Warsaw-based company TAXUS UL, responsible for the inventorying works. “We have come across truly extraordinary specimens which are impossible to see in other cities, such as Kentucky coffeetree, Caucasian wingnut or Japanese pagoda tree, and numerous other varieties we had to devote more time to. It is interesting to note that the species fit perfectly here as these are usually beautiful large trees.
Over a half of the trees inventoried in parks are mature trees, meaning that they have reached their target size and let us admire their majestic beauty. Young and maturing trees which are still at their growth stage account for 31% of the tree stand. Nearly 13% of them are ancient trees whose natural value cannot be overestimated. “Every old tree, with its hollows, rotten patches and intact soil is a rich ecosystem which constitutes a place to live, forage and rest for hundreds of other species: birds, bats, useful beetles, mushroom, lichen and various microorganisms,” explained the City Gardener. “What is interesting, decline may be the longest stage of a tree's life cycle. The described age structure of trees indicates the stability of the tree stand in which the number of young and ancient trees is balanced.
Nearly a third of the inventoried trees has reached a circumference of over 200 cm, out of which 28 have a circumference of over 4 metres, which means that you need at least three people to embrace the trees.
As part of the next stage, the park trees were subject to inspection and the assessment included their state of health, the level of safety in the surroundings and the expected duration of life. The data obtained from these activities, following their analysis, will become a basis for planning proper care of the tree stand in the years to come.
The second inventorying stage was also completed in December, and as part of these works, the remaining trees in the city centre were counted and measured along roads and in developed areas near buildings - 5719 specimens. The collected information will be analysed next year.
The essential data from the first part of inventorying works, covering location, species name, trunk circumference, tree top circumference and the height of trees was published on the map of the City of Szczecin Spatial Information System, in the “greenery” tab. Information about roadside trees and trees accompanying urban buildings are due to be published there soon.