Minneapolis tree mapping: How does your neighborhood measure up?

A new tree-mapping study by the University of Minnesota is helping the city of Minneapolis see which parts of the city have the most trees.

Nearly a third (31.5 percent) of the land in Minneapolis is tree canopy, and the study says there’s room for even more.

The study is part of the city’s effort to respond to emerald ash borer and other diseases.

One interesting part of the project looks at all the city’s neighborhoods. Professor Marv Bauer at the U of M Department of Forest Resources sent me the image below. It shows which neighborhoods have the most tree canopy.

The most tree-happy neighborhoods are the ones where tree canopy made up between 41 and 60 percent of the land. They are: Cleveland, Folwell, Waite Park, Audubon Park, Willard-Hay, Bryn Mawr, Kenwood, Linden Hills, Fulton, Lynnhurst, Tangletown, Field, Page, Hale, Minnehaha, Hiawatha, Cooper and Howe.

The downtown area and some industrial areas had the lowest percentages of tree canopy. UTC stands for “urban tree canopy.” (Map of Minneapolis neighborhoods here.)

existing-UTC.gif

The report also calculated “possible urban tree canopy” for Minneapolis. The highest potential tree canopy for Minneapolis? A whopping 68 percent! The remaining land would be streets, buildings and water.

The report made clear that the 68 percent overall could only be achieved under certain circumstances, and said there are many factors that go into where trees are planted and maintained. On the other hand, some areas of the city are close to that now and could reach or exceed that in the future.

The Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board is planting 5,500 trees this year. In the past the annual number was more like 3,000.

Ralph Sievert, director of park forestry for the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board, told me the study will help his department figure out where more trees could be planted.

One idea is to use the detailed maps to strategically plant trees in places where they could affect city residents’ energy use.

Sievert said city officials estimated the Minneapolis tree canopy at about 25 percent in the past. They feel good about the larger number in the study.

“Compared to other cities that’s pretty good,” Sievert noted.

Minneapolis City Council’s Regulatory, Energy and Environment Committee heard the canopy study results today. Afterward, the city issued a press release on the study.

It compared the Minneapolis tree canopy to other cities that have completed recent urban tree canopy assessments:

  • Baltimore — 49 percent
  • Burlington, Vt. — 43 percent
  • Washington, D.C. — 35 percent
  • Boston — 29 percent
  • Des Moines, Iowa — 27 percent
  • New York — 24 percent
  • Providence, R.I. — 23 percent

You can read the entire report here:

Mpls tree canopy.pdf