Urban Greenspace and Tree Preservation

Trees enhance and beautify suburban, urban and rural environments alike; in fact, those who cut them down are considered by preservationists as sinful heathens.

Recent studies have identified significant disparities in human exposure to greenspace globally21. While urban greening trends are increasing globally, some humans remain under-exposed.

Identifying Trees

Identification of tree species is vitally important in many circumstances. Whether you’re an amateur naturalist exploring your local environment, a developer planning a development that incorporates existing trees into their plans, or simply an interested citizen; learning how to recognize trees correctly is of vital importance. If you need help with this you can contact a professional tree service like Tallahassee Tree Service (https://www.tallahasseefltreeservices.com).

Existing trees can bring many advantages to developments, from visual appeal and increased property values to improving water, soil and air quality and mitigating temperatures during hot periods. By including tree preservation provisions in zoning ordinances or contracts between developers and home builders, their value can also increase significantly.

An accurate inventory of existing trees is critical in creating development plans that preserve a high percentage of desirable tree species. A qualified arborist evaluates suitability for preservation by considering factors like species, condition, size, location and more. Construction impacts can be reduced using grading and site plans that clearly depict all worthy trees as well as by avoiding activities that might harm them – trenches for utilities, excavations or moving heavy equipment could all damage worthy specimens and create unnecessary impacts to them.

Identifying Potential Trees

Trees are an integral component of urban landscapes and offer many ecosystem services (ES), such as water filtration, climate stabilization, air quality improvement, wildlife habitat creation, stormwater mitigation and energy savings (Norton and Dobbs 2010).

Urbanization often results in decreased tree cover and increased nontree vegetation in urban areas, making it imperative to understand both spatial and temporal variation of tree and nontree coverage so as to inform sustainable development strategies for urban greening initiatives.

Satellite-based methods using reflectance indices like normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) and enhanced vegetation index (EVI) provide an efficient means for analyzing trends in tree cover and nontree vegetation over large urban environments. We analyzed spatiotemporal variations in urban tree and nontree vegetation trends using NDVI and EVI data in Tallahassee, Florida from 2000-20.

Leon County has implemented an online application designed to assist with identifying suitable trees to protect during development, with criteria including sun/shade, soil type, drainage, mature size and proximity to overhead utility wires. Furthermore, Leon County offers its 2024 Adopt-A-Tree program, which enables residents to request tree planting on their properties free of charge; however the county will not plant in areas not meeting minimum density requirements or where fill is mandated under Chapter 10-416(h).

Identifying Existing Trees

Urban areas often combine public and private land use, making it challenging to determine how best to preserve trees during development. A common solution is tree codes which combine forest planning with zoning regulations to influence building placement, utility installations and street placement decisions; furthermore these codes also establish permit processes to ensure tree-related activities adhere to established guidelines.

As part of these requirements, it may be necessary to conduct an inventory of trees prior to starting any construction activity. The tree inventory should identify those with potential for saving and could include a tree condition report to assess health and suitability for preservation. A qualified horticulturist, forester, arborist or landscape architect should conduct this inventory and create the report before using this data with site or grading plans to craft a preservation plan for them.

Trees provide many advantages to society, from lowering temperatures in hot weather to enriching air and soil quality, beautifying landscapes, and increasing property values. Their presence also enables developers to sell lots more quickly at higher prices – while maintaining trees during development requires time, good design, communication and money investments – but the results more than justify these expenditures. A growing body of literature connects urban vegetation to various ecosystem services including supporting human health and wellbeing.

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