This study compared the management practices and ordinances enacted by 43 Florida communities to assess their potential impact on tree canopy coverage. This information was paired with each
community’s responses to a 2014 survey of municipal forestry management practices in the United States. Canopy coverage ranged between 17.6% and 63.3% among the communities assessed, with average of 33.7%.
Two factors were significant when attempting to predict canopy coverage. Housing density had a negative impact on tree canopy (P-value = 0.0116). In contrast, ordinance designating and protecting heritage or other trees of significance resulted in a 6.7% increase in canopy coverage (P-value = 0.0476).
Results of this research provide base-level data regarding urban forest cover in a range of Florida communities. More importantly, this research suggests the heritage tree protections afforded to old or large-stature urban trees has a measurable impact on tree canopy retention.
Deborah R. Hilbert, Andrew K. Koeser, Keir Hamilton, Shawn M. Landry, Richard J. Hauer, Haley Campanella, Drew McClean, Michael Andrew and Hector Perez.
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