The canopy cover Webmap of the United Kingdom’s towns and cities

Sales, Kris; Walker, Hannah; Sparrow, Kate; Handley, Phillip; Vaz Monteiro, Madalena; Hand, Kathryn L.; Buckland, Annabel; Chambers-Ostler, Alexander and Doick, Kieron J. (2023). The canopy cover Webmap of the United Kingdom’s towns and cities. Arboricultural Journal, 45(4) pp. 258–289.



Urban trees and other green infrastructure are advocated as a cost-effective sustainable solution to ameliorate the socio-economic and environmental challenges of urbanisation. UK research has only recently started to quantify urban trees. Tree canopy cover percentage (TCC) is a useful indicator of tree presence. Its estimation can be reproducible, simple, fast, and cost-effective; it can also be evaluated through citizen science, improving people’s appreciation for urban trees and widening the data collection resource pool. This research summarises a citizen science assessment of the TCC of the UK’s 5,749 urban wards. Descriptive statistics are presented spanning local authority to country. The area-weighted mean (and standard error) of TCC across urban wards was 17.3 ± 0.1%. Nationally, the TCC were 11.8 ± 0.5%, 15.7 ± 0.5%, 17.5 ± 0.2%, and 18.1 ± 0.5%, for Northern Ireland, Scotland, England, and Wales, respectively. Results show that only 27.6% of urban wards had a TCC higher than 20%, previously suggested as a minimum target for UK towns. The findings highlight substantial geographical variance in TCC equity, as well as a negative correlation between TCC and deprivation. This information will be of value in urban forest strategy and management.

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