Understand your Canopy

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Urban tree canopy assessments help identify where to focus tree planting and protection efforts.

The first step in working toward a tree canopy goal is understanding what you have. Urban tree canopy assessments use high resolution aerial imagery, analytical tools, and other available data to provide communities with detailed information about existing and potential tree canopy cover. Over 70 communities and 9 counties in the Chesapeake watershed have completed assessments, which you can access through our Home Page map.

Coming soon in Spring 2017,  new tree canopy data will be available for the entire watershed, thanks to Chesapeake Bay Program partners’ recent investments in high resolution land cover mapping. We will post information on how to find and use the data as soon as it is available.

To complement the “bird’s eye” view of a canopy assessment, tree inventories are important for gathering on-the-ground information about community trees, such as tree size, species, and condition. i-Tree is a free, online software suite from the USDA Forest Service that can be used for tree inventory and quantifying your community’s tree benefits, from air quality to stormwater reduction to carbon sequestration.






Featured Resources

Resources & Stories

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PA Community Tree Map

This tool gives Pennsylvania communities the ability to conduct tree inventories, monitoring activities, and urban tree canopy analyses, as well as track tree maintenance and stewardship activities. View webinar to learn how to use it.

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DC Urban Tree Canopy Story Map

A Story Map in ArcGIS Online of how the Nation’s Capital created and maintained a urban tree canopy program and how it has worked and changed over time.

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Conducting a Community Tree Inventory

Penn State Extension’s Forest Resources describes the process of conducting a tree inventory and the four phases it can be divided into: planning, implementation, application, and maintenance.