Developing a Spatial Form Model to Assess Canopy Cover and Other Urban Forestry Metrics for Guelph, Ontario

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Brommer, Jessica L.
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University of Guelph

Canopy cover is used as one of many indicators of urban forest management success. This study developed a spatial form model to determine whether Guelph’s canopy cover target of 40% is achievable given various planning considerations. The model used a geographic information system (ArcGIS 10.2) and leaf-on SPOT 6 satellite imagery to determine existing land covers; it applied a variety of spatial analysis tools to land cover data and existing infrastructure to determine the spatial extent and/or quantity of a variety of urban forest metrics. Results found that a 40% canopy cover is achievable if 52% of the available plantable space becomes canopy cover. Industrial and employment, institutional, low-density residential, commercial, and parkland should be targeted for future planting efforts due to their large plantable space areas and/or low relative canopy cover.

land cover, tree canopy, spatial analysis, plantable space, GIS, remote sensing