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A Guide to Assessing Urban Forests

Urban forests provide numerous ecosystem services. To quantify these services and guide management to sustain these services for future generations, the structure or composition of the forest must be assessed.

Urban forests provide numerous ecosystem services. To quantify these services and guide management to sustain these services for future generations, the structure or composition of the forest must be assessed. There are two basic ways of assessing the structure or composition of the urban forest:

  • Bottom-up approach. Field-based assessments to measure the physical structure of the forest (e.g., species composition, number of trees)—typically used for strategic resource management or advocacy by connecting forest structure, functions and values with management costs, risks, and needs.
  • Top-down approach. Assessments of canopy cover using aerial or satellite images—used to determine amount and distribution of tree cover, potential planting space and other cover types.

These two approaches provide different types of urban forest information. The purpose of this guide is to outline the advantages, disadvantages and costs associated with various common assessment alternatives under these two approaches.

Authors
D.J. Nowak
Date Published
2013
Publisher
Northern Research Station
Syracuse, NY (US)
Publication Number
NRS-INF-24-13
Resource Format
Pamphlet/Flyer/Factsheet
Sub-Topics
Urban Tree Canopy Assessment, Inventory (forest), Inventory (tree)
State(s)/Region(s)
National
Keywords
UTC, i-Tree, underserved, urban tree canopy
Indexed By
UFS-drh
Document Actions
Personal tools