Canopy Cover Assessment

Charlottetown’s Canopy Cover Study 

iTree Canopy (created by the USDA Forest Service) is software specifically designed to survey the coverage of our urban forest canopy. It is a web based program that utilizes Google Maps imagery and random sampling methods to produce a canopy assessment. The results provide users with a statistically accurate estimate of land cover types and the economic benefits of the canopy cover. 

Results for Charlottetown

There are 5 categories of land cover types in this study: bare ground, water, grass/herbaceous plants, impervious surfaces and tree/shrub cover. 1000 random points were surveyed within Charlottetown’s 44 km² area (if 1000 points are surveyed s a 1.4% standard error is expected for an average sized city). 

The results in pie chart below, show that trees and shrubs make up about 22% of the overall land cover in Charlottetown, at 9.89 km².  Impervious surfaces had a similar result at 21% or 9.49 km².  Grass and herbaceous plants are the most common cover class in the City and account for about 43% of the land cover, or 19.3 km².  Bare ground and water make up the final 13% of the land cover in Charlottetown. 

Charlottetown's Canopy Cover Study

iTree Canopy is a very quick way for municipalities to determine land cover types.  This information can be used by urban forest managers to estimate their tree canopy cover, set goals about how much canopy cover the City should have and to monitor canopy change over time. Using it to determine other land uses can also be helpful to other City Departments and activities.

Economic Benefits

The urban forest provides direct economic benefits through the removal of atmospheric pollution and carbon storage.  This helps to improve air quality and regulate temperature. Using peer reviewed formulas, iTree quantifies these benefits based on the canopy cover in the City.  

Economic benefits of Charlottetown's canopy cover.

Other benefits of the urban forest include improved storm water retention, increased property values, enhanced aesthetics and reduced noise pollution. It also reduces the energy and maintenance costs by providing shade to buildings and asphalt. Other benefits include opportunities for recreation, relaxation and socialization which promotes psychological wellbeing and physical health among residents. 

Trees in the urban environment help to create a positive community image and sense of wellbeing.