Wellesley’s Urban Forest

In 2021, Wellesley had 57% UTC and 17% PPA, excluding any surface water bodies within the town. Urban tree canopy and PPA percentages above are based only on land area, since water bodies are not suitable for planting new trees without significant modification. The 3,708
acres of tree canopy in Wellesley provide a multitude of economic, environmental, and social benefits, valued at over $2 million annually. Single Residence Districts, zones that allow for single, detached residential houses only, made up 72% of Wellesley’s total land area, had
60% urban tree canopy cover, and contained 73% of Wellesley’s townwide canopy in 2021. Educational zoned areas, including Wellesley and Babson Colleges, contained 56% canopy coverage, approximately 355 of Wellesley’s total 3,708 tree canopy acreage.


Urban Tree Canopy Change

Results from this assessment found that Wellesley’s canopy cover increased from 54% to 57% (+3% or +210 acres) from 2012 and 2021. While the overall trend of townwide canopy is positive, losses on finer scales should not be ignored. 24% of Wellesley’s census blocks experienced losses in canopy between 2012 and 2021. These losses are likely due to development and redevelopment of homes on private property.



The results of this analysis can be used to develop a continued strategy to protect and expand Wellesley’s urban forest. This study revealed that townwide canopy increased by 210 acres within Wellesley’s current town boundary. With 1,129 acres of possible planting area, Wellesley has an opportunity to increase urban tree canopy coverage on both public and private property. The Town should proactively work to continue planting new trees to support the townwide goal of 60% canopy cover by 2050, a ~3% increase from the current 57% baseline. In 2021, 76% of total PPA acreage was on Single Residence property, and 12% fell on Educational zoned areas. With partnerships, education, and outreach programs to private landowners, Wellesley can aim for gains in the townwide canopy numbers. It is important for the Town to use this assessment to inform future investments in the urban forest so that all those who live, work, and play in Wellesley can benefit from the urban forest. Through management actions, strategic plantings, and protections for existing canopy informed by the UTC, PPA, and change metrics included in this report and the town’s TreePlotter™ CANOPY app, Wellesley has an opportunity to expand its current urban tree canopy to its fullest potential and reach its tree canopy cover goals.

Fill out the form to access the Hillsboro Urban Tree Canopy Assessment.

Access the Wellesley Massachusetts Urban Tree Canopy Assessment

Access the Wellesley Massachusetts Urban Tree Canopy Assessment

Wellesley’s Tree Canopy Assessment Insights


Acres of Canopy


Tree Canopy Cover in 2020


Air Quality Monetary Benefit