URBAN TREE CANOPY CHANGE ANALYSISDenver, Colorado, USA
The Denver Downtown Partnership (DDP) manages over two thousand trees in the Downtown Denver Business Improvement District. For this project, urban tree canopy was digitized, and change in tree canopy was analyzed from the time period of 2014 through 2017. Change in canopy was analyzed on two different scales: comprehensively to determine total canopy change over time, and for individual
trees, considering various conditions.
The comprehensive canopy change evaluation revealed an urban tree canopy increase of 18%, up from 702,712 ft2 of canopy in 2014 to 830,519 ft2of canopy in 2017. This canopy change occurred despite tree replacements, the loss of dead trees, or the decline in the health of individual trees. Many new areas of tree canopy coverage were observed in the DDP area.
Individual tree canopy change was evaluated by two conditions including location (street) and species. E. 18th Avenue and Broadway contained trees with the largest average canopy size, both over 700 ft2. The street with the greatest increase in average individual tree canopy size was E. 17th Street with a 47% increase.
An updated tree inventory was used for species information. Of the species mapped in 2014, all tree species saw a decrease in average individual tree canopy size with the largest decreases being the Norway maple and the bur oak at 59% and 58%, respectively. The honey locust still boasts the greatest current (2017) average canopy size of 452 ft² even with an overall decrease of 65% since 2014. Using the
updated tree inventory, two species of elm (American and Accolade), Shumard oak, and ponderosa pine had the greatest average canopy size with 1,278, 925, 872, and 806 ft2, respectively.
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