When Ian Hanou first studied forest management and spatial information systems, he didn’t know what urban forestry was. “In traditional forestry you are managing trees for lumber, paper, maybe recreation. Urban forestry is people forestry. You are managing trees towards the end product of benefiting people,” he says.
Once he learned about how critical urban green space is for livability, sustainability and a component of what’s called nature based solutions, which address extreme heat, local climate resiliency, biodiversity and more, he was hooked. “When I realized I had the entrepreneurial mindset, plus a love for these things, it was clear I needed to devote my career to this field.”
He started his global software and consulting company PlanIT Geo™ in 2012 to provide innovative planning and technology for urban forestry, parks and arboriculture. His team has led hundreds of projects, including urban tree canopy assessments, field-based tree inventories and strategic plan development; and the company’s TreePlotter™ software is often used by thousands of urban foresters, arborists, park managers and tree care companies around the world.