Story at a Glance
Preliminary data from a study of multispectral imagery shows the District of Columbia is getting greener.
(Washington, DC) Preliminary data from a study of multispectral imagery shows the District of Columbia is getting greener. According to the assessment DC’s urban tree canopy has grown by 2.1 percent over the past 5 years, and now covers 37.2% of the city.
“A greener DC is a more livable, sustainable DC and it is very encouraging to see we are heading in the right direction,” said Mayor Vincent C. Gray. “We want to ensure the District remains known as the ‘city of trees’ because they provide immeasurable benefits for our quality of life and our health.”
The study was conducted by AMEC E&I as part of the grant Metropolitan Washington Urban Tree Canopy Analysis – Phase I, funded by the US Forest Service, Northeastern Area, on behalf of the District Department of Transportation’s (DDOT) Urban Forestry Administration and the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments.
The study is based on reanalyzed 2006 data and new 2011 aerial data and reveals citywide urban forest cover change. It shows all wards have gained tree canopy except Ward 3, which has lost 3.7%.
This new report provides a baseline to approach the District’s goal of 40% urban tree canopy by 2035 and will be used to identify strategies to address canopy losses and gains.
“The data in this preliminary report shows the District’s urban tree canopy is greater than had been credited in earlier reports” said John Thomas, DDOT’s Chief Forester. “It’s a sign that our tree planting and maintenance efforts over the last five years are making a difference and we anticipate the next phase of this study should reveal even more improvements in our canopy.”
Posted on the DDOT website is the study’s summary factsheet [PDF]. The full report will be available in the next few months.
The mission of the Urban Forestry Administration (UFA) is to establish a full population of street trees in the right of way and to ensure that those street trees are maintained in a healthy and safe condition. UFA has 16 certified arborists on staff maintaining approximately 148,000 trees throughout the city. For more information about UFA visit ddot.dc.gov/trees.