Developing a Statewide Community Tree Canopy Map in Nebraska
Funding Agency: Nebraska Environmental Trust
Community trees offer important environmental benefits such as improving air and water quality, reducing storm water run-off, and providing wildlife habitat. Community tree canopy maps are essential to estimate the magnitude and location of environmental benefits provided by community trees, and the potential negative impact of invasive pests, like the emerald ash borer. The lack tree canopy maps for communities in Nebraska limits efficient decision-making by municipalities and state agencies to prevent degradation of water resources and air quality, and loss of habitat due to reductions in tree canopy from invasive pests and development practices. The aim of this project is to develop a low cost and repeatable method to map tree canopy for Nebraska communities. We will test machine learning and USDA NAIP aerial photography to develop canopy classification methods and canopy maps for the cities of Lincoln, South Sioux City, and Waverly as pilot communities.