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Technical Notes - Vue Canopy Cover Estimation

i-Tree Vue tends to underestimate urban tree canopy cover.

i-Tree Vue is a new tool in the i-Tree suite that allows the user to assess urban tree canopy (UTC) and some of the ecosystem services that it provides using freely available national land cover data maps on-line. The on-line satellite imagery was compiled in 2001 and has a resolution of 30 m2. Because the resolution is so coarse, treecanopy estimation tends to be underestimated.

Recent urban tree canopy assessment projects in Virginia using 1 m2 resolution satellite imagery from 2007-2008 were comparedwith i-Tree Vue estimations. In each of the projects, canopy cover was underestimated by over 50%. A Northeastern Area study suggested similar caution when using 30 m2 NLCD for UTC studies.

While i-Tree Vue is a good tool for communities to use as a quick UTC assessment or as a pre i-Tree Eco tool , the environmental services and canopy cover results generated from a Vue project should be treated as anestimate for preliminary planning and community discussions. For information about the limitations of i-Tree Vue, read the i-Tree Vue User’s Manual (pp 9-12).

E.A. Kuehler
Date Published
February 2010
Urban Forestry South
Athens, GA
Resource Format
Carbon, Canopy, Impervious Surfaces/Cover, Ecosystem Management
Technical Notes, Technical Notes
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