Thursday, August 02, 2012

Mapping The Benefits Of Urban Trees

According to a U.S. Forest Service analysis reported in Science News magazine, urban areas in the United States are losing 4 million trees a year due to things such as illegal cutting, clear cutting by billboard companies, disease, aging out, development and natural disasters.Tree Map

Hopefully, Durham NC, where I live, has begun to track urban tree populations with the same technology being used here to track road signs so they can be eliminated when the community finally decides to adopt community-wide way finding beyond the tease provided in some districts of downtown.

For an example of how technology can aid any urban tree plan, click on this interactive tree map of San Diego County that appeared in Kaid Benfield’s Atlantic Cities blog on urban trees.  It also calculates the benefits these trees accrue to residents there, helping to inform forest management decisions and practices and educate property owners.

Charlotte, NC has taken analysis of its tree canopy down to specific neighborhoods so it can better address the lack of canopy where the benefits are most needed including studies recently that link tree cover to reduced crime.

I blog often about the value of trees, especially in urban areas and along roadsides, but some of the more recent advantages are not yet included in this handy 2008 reference to 22 benefits.

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