Sat. May 25th, 2019

Greater Canopy Coverage in Cities Supporting Tree Protection Laws

Trees are valued at millions of dollars when they cover portions of a city.

For instance Tampa, which has established an Urban Forest Management Plan. Referring to a 2016 valuation by the University Of Florida Institute Of Food and Agricultural Sciences and the University of South Florida, the 32.3% canopy coverage saves Tampa $7 million in yearly energy savings, $121 million per annum in sequestration and storage of carbon, and $3.4 million in stormwater treatment reserves.

As trees offer shelter and oxygen, numerous cities have approved laws that inhibit the deletion of healthy trees, stated Andrew Koeser, a UF/IFAS assistant professor of environmental horticulture based at the Gulf Coast Research and Education Center.

Koeser led a recently completed research, to know the effect of tree ordinances, which viewed 43 cities in Florida. It was seen that Florida cities with laws protecting trees have 6.7% more tree canopy coverage than cities that don’t.

6.7% represents a significant increase, stated Koeser.

He said the newest study demonstrates the efficiency of tree protection determinations and will let local governments, which are considering tree laws, know.

“Debate about tree ordinances stirred two questions: Do they actually work to help a city maintain the tree coverage that we know saves energy costs and preserves its environmental functions? And if so, what is their impact?” Koeser told. Some people love trees, some are uncaring, whereas some view them as an obstacle towards development, he said. “These findings let the public and decision-makers weigh these values against data.”

For the new research, Koeser along with his team carried out a dot-based canopy analysis of 43 cities in Florida, utilizing 2014’s aerial pictures and linking the results with a thorough survey of urban forestry practices carried out by the University of Wisconsin, also in 2014. The cities comprised of Sarasota, Davie, Orlando, and Fort Lauderdale.

The researchers placed 1,000 random dots over the aerial imagery for every city in question and noticed how many of those dots were then placed on trees. If, for instance, 440 dots were seen to have been placed on trees and the rest elsewhere on the image, they approximated 44% canopy coverage.