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Background

The analyses of Virginia localities' urban tree canopy (UTC) was carried out at the request of the Virginia Department of Forestry in collaboration with the participating localities and funded by the Chesapeake Bay Program, the USDA Forest Service, the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, the Virginia Coastal Zone Management Program at the Department of Environmental Quality and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The analysis was performed by the Virginia Department of Forestry and the Virginia Geospatial Extension Program (VGEP) at Virginia Tech’s Department of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation in consultation with the Center for Environmental Applications and Remote Sensing (CEARS) and the Spatial Analysis Laboratory (SAL) of the University of Vermont.

The goal of the project was to apply the USDA Forest Service’s UTC assessment protocols to the participating localities. These analyses were conducted based on year 2008 data.

Why is Tree Canopy Important?

Urban tree canopy (UTC) is the layer of leaves, branches, and stems of trees that cover the ground when viewed from above. Urban tree canopy provides many benefits to communities including improving water quality, conserving energy, lowering city temperatures, reducing air pollution, enhancing property values, providing wildlife habitat, facilitating social and educational opportunities, and providing aesthetic benefits. More information about urban tree canopy benefits can be found here.

Participating Localities

 


 

Key Terms

UTC
Urban tree canopy (UTC) is the layer of leaves, branches, and stems of trees that cover the ground when viewed from above.

Land Cover
Physical features on the earth mapped from satellite or aerial imagery such as trees, or water.

Existing UTC
The amount of UTC present within parcel boundaries.

Possible UTC
The amount of land that is theoretically available for the establishment of tree canopy within parcel boundaries. Possible UTC excludes areas covered by tree canopy, roads, buildings, and water. It is the combination of Pos-sible UTC - Vegetation and Possible UTC - Impervious.

Possible UTC - Vegetation
The amount of land that is theoretically available for the establishment of tree canopy in non-tree vegetation areas within parcel boundaries. This excludes areas covered by tree canopy, impervious surfaces, and water.

Possible UTC - Impervious
The amount of land that is theoretically available for the establishment of tree canopy in impervious areas within parcel boundaries. This includes impervious areas (roads, parking lots, and sidewalks) except for buildings.

 
 
 
 
     

Last Revised June 27, 2011
Virginia Geospatial Extension Program

     

For program participation information please contact Barbara White of the Virginia Department of Forestry: Barbara.White@dof.virginia.gov or (434) 220-9041

For UTC analysis details please contact James Pugh of the Virginia Department of Forestry: Jim.Pugh@dof.virginia.gov or (434) 220-9062

For website questions or problems please contact John McGee of the Virginia Geospatial Extension Program: jmcg@vt.edu or (540) 231-2428