Urban Tree Canopy Assessments: Part 4
July 17, 2020
In this blog series, learn more about the process, why you need one, and how an urban tree canopy assessment will benefit the community.
Part 4: What will I learn from my urban tree canopy assessment?
Trees and People
Since trees can help address a wide variety of economic, health, and equity issues, understanding the connections between canopy cover and human populations is becoming an increasingly important set of information for city planners.
Census data (age, income, race/ethnicity, etc.) and public health metrics can be correlated with tree canopy cover to analyze whether trees are lacking for certain groups of people and where an expanded canopy could help improve living conditions. This map shows the percent canopy cover (proportional green dots) for census tracts in Jacksonville, Florida along with mental health cases from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
There is a strong negative relationship between tree canopy and mental health (r = -.40). Higher levels of canopy coverage are associated with lower rates of mental health cases.
Setting Canopy Cover Goals
Establishing a canopy cover goal requires knowing what you already have. It also requires knowledge of local issues: is Downtown hotter than other areas? Do the streets flood during heavy rain events? Are there certain segments of the population that don’t have equal access to green space?
You’ll also gain an understanding of the effort needed to reach this goal. Will it take planting 1,000 trees or 100,000 trees? Will you need to focus on public outreach and engagement in order to expand the urban forest in private residential areas?
Not only are you provided with the raw data and information, but we’ve also developed an interactive, online tool to help you interact with the data and gain a better understanding for your community’s needs.
Our reports aim to summarize our methods, findings, and general recommendations on how best to put your new data to use. The data are analyzed to find the most meaningful and practical outcomes such as advocating for public education and outreach programs, locations of the areas that need more trees, the number of trees that need to be planted to achieve goals, and other data-driven advice that can be applied in an urban forest management plan (UFMP). Read a sample report here.
Our decision support tool allows you to view, plan, and grow tree canopy. The distribution of tree canopy and where planting space exists can be easily visualized using the View tool. To learn where to plant trees in order to address environmental or socioeconomic and demographic issues, use the Plan tool. Creating simple planting scenarios to understand what it takes to meet canopy cover goals can be performed with the Grow tool. Try it out in our demo app or learn more about TreePlotter CANOPY here