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Northern Research Station
One Gifford Pinchot Drive
Madison, WI 53726
(608) 231-9318
(608) 231-9544 TTY/TDD

Urban Natural Resources Stewardship

Urban Tree Canopy Assessment FAQs

How do communities set UTC goals?

  1. Assess present condition - How much UTC do I have?
    • Use remote sensing to measure existing urban tree canopy
  2. Assess potential UTC - How much UTC can I get?
    • Assessment of potential UTC by site type
      • Watershed, districts, neighborhoods, parks, private residential parcels
    • Assessment of possible, potential, and preferable UTC by site type
  3. Adoption of a Goal based on the findings of the assessments
    • It is preferable for a community to institutionalize UTC goals in legislation, regulation, or the community’s comprehensive or sustainability plan to ensure that these long term goals come to fruition.
  4. Development of an Implementation Plan
    • Communities have begun UTC Prioritizations where locations lacking the benefits of trees are identified and matched to organization’s current programmatic mandates such as:
      • Watershed protection
      • Heat island mitigation
      • Crime
      • and many others
    • Requirements for new tree planting, protection and maintenance of existing trees, and predicted canopy loss from tree mortality and land conversion
    • Relationship of canopy goals to local ordinances, regulations, and the community’s comprehensive plan
    • Strategies for including a range of stakeholders in the implementation process.

Additional information can be found in the Urban Tree Canopy Assessment Glossary


Last Modified: 01/05/2018