FOR 215/FR277: Gainesville's Urban Forest Canopy Cover:
In 2006, 93 random sites were sampled and measured across Gainesville, Florida using the USDA Forest Service's Urban Forest Effects (UFORE) methods (http://www.ufore.org/). Crown measurements, tree species, land use conditions, shrub characteristics, and surface cover information were used to determine the urban forest cover and total leaf area in Gainesville. Leaf area, as estimated by the UFORE model, is the sum of all tree leaf surfaces. Urban forest canopy cover is the proportion of land surface area that lies directly beneath the crowns of all trees and tall shrubs. Urban forest includes all trees on private and public lands within the city limits of Gainesville.
Results indicate tree cover in Gainesville at 51 percent while shrub cover, often present under trees, was 16 percent. Pervious surface cover (bare soil, lawns, gardens, pastures) was 73 percent, impervious surface cover (concrete, roads, tar) was 15 percent, and buildings covered 9 percent of Gainesville. In addition to tree and shrub cover, information on surface covers can help planners and other professionals assess the potential for positive or negative environmental effects such as the ability of areas to infiltrate excess rainfall or identify areas that can be sources of excess stormwater runoff.