An Assessment of Existing and Potential TREE CANOPY

St. Thomas, Ontario, Canada
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Urban Tree Canopy in St. Thomas, Ontario

The urban forest of St. Thomas offers a lot more than greener views and patches of shade. It creates meaningful environmental, economic, and social benefits for the community. To better understand this essential infrastructure, this assessment identified urban tree canopy (UTC), possible planting area (PPA), and areas unsuitable for planting. It analyzed how they are currently distributed throughout several geographic scales, including the city boundary, parks, zoning, and dissemination areas. The results, based on land cover and tree canopy data sourced from Ecopia Tech Corporation, will allow the City to revise existing strategies and develop new ones to protect and expand the tree canopy. The maps and data from this assessment will help concentrate efforts in areas with the greatest need, where tree planting space is available, and where benefits can be realized.

Citywide Urban Tree Canopy

This urban tree canopy assessment utilized the land cover data as a foundation to determine UTC and PPA throughout the City of St. Thomas. Note that the results of this study are based on land area, which excludes water bodies, as opposed to total area. Results of this study indicate that within the city boundary, 915 hectares are covered with urban tree canopy, making up 26% of the City’s 3,579 total hectares; 901 hectares (25%) are covered with other vegetation where it would be possible to plant trees; and the other 1,718 hectares (49%) were considered unsuitable for tree planting. The unsuitable areas include recreational sports fields, utility corridors, agricultural fields, areas of bare soil and dry vegetation, and impervious surfaces.

Key Insights

Land Hectares

% Urban Tree Canopy

% possible planting area