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    Author(s): David J. Nowak; Rowan A. Rowntree; E. Gregory McPherson; Susan M. Sisinni; Esther R. Kirkmann; Jack C. Stevens
    Date: 1996
    Source: Urban Planning. 36: 49-57.
    Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
    Station: Northern Research Station
    PDF: Download Publication  (1.35 MB)


    Measurement of city tree cover can aid in urban vegetation planning, management, and research by revealing characteristics of vegetation across a city. Urban tree cover in the United States ranges from 0.4% in Lancaster, California, to 55% in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Two important factors that affect the amount of urban tree cover are the natural environment and land use. Urban tree cover is highest in cities that developed in naturally forested areas (31%), followed by grassland cities (19%) and desert cities (10%), but showed wide variation based on individual city characteristics. Tree cover ranged from 15 to 55% for cities in forested areas, 5 to 39% for those in grassland areas, and 0.4 to 26% for cities developed in desert regions. Park and residential lands along with vacant lands in forested areas generally have the highest tree cover among different land uses. Methods of measuring urban tree cover are presented as are planning and management implications of tree-cover data.

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    Nowak, David J.; Rowntree, Rowan A.; McPherson, E. Gregory; Sisinni, Susan M.; Kirkmann, Esther R.; Stevens, Jack C. 1996. Measuring and analyzing urban tree cover. Urban Planning. 36: 49-57.


    urban treee cover, photo interpretation, urban forestry

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