Thursday, June 4, 2009

City finds high resolution data leads to more accurate picture of UTC; Greensboro, NC

Tree canopy covers nearly 50 percent of Guilford County : : Greensboro & the Triad's most trusted source for local news and analysis
Wednesday, June 3, 2009
By Morgan Josey Glover
Staff Writer
A new study by the city of Greensboro could allay concerns about residential and commercial development’s impact on Guilford County’s tree canopy.
A survey of tree coverage based on 2007 aerial photographs showed that almost 50 percent of the county is covered by trees. In comparison, American Forests suggests an average tree cover of at least 40 percent in combined urban and rural areas.
“I came away with the impression that countywide we’re sitting pretty good,” said Michael Cusimano, a city urban forester who will present the report to the Advisory Commission on Trees today. “The focus now needs to be on managing our trees.”
Greensboro last studied its tree canopy almost a decade ago, based on satellite images taken in 1984, 1993 and 2000. Those pictures showed that the city had lost 18 percent of its tree cover during those years, motivating the city to adopt a tree ordinance that requires developers to save or replace some of the trees they cut down.
The previous study, however, was based on obsolete technology that showed 30 square meters of land per pixel, Cusimano said. The cameras used in the newer study can show 6 inches per pixel, thus capturing more trees than could be shown before. The new study also expanded its scope to examine coverage countywide, both by municipality and watershed.

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