UBC Undergraduate Research

UBC's urban tree canopy : growing towards sustainability or a declining resource? Sutherland, Ira


UBC’s urban tree canopy provides a broad suite of ecosystem services that support the community’s well-being and many of the university’s goals and values. Despite their importance, these ecosystem services are poorly understood and at risk of declining as the campus expands its built infrastructure. This study aims to provide a better understanding of the benefits provided by UBC’s urban trees and elucidate possible implications of canopy reductions. Through a geospatial analysis this study estimates canopy cover and canopy structure changes at four study areas on the UBC Vancouver campus. At one of the study sites, placed in the south campus, canopy cover declined from 57% to 33% during the study period 2004-2009, which likely translates to a substantial decline in ecosystem services. This paper concludes with recommendations towards not only sustaining the benefits provided by UBC’s urban tree canopy, but perhaps enhancing them through innovative ideas that support UBC’s commitments to leadership in sustainability. Disclaimer: “UBC SEEDS provides students with the opportunity to share the findings of their studies, as well as their opinions, conclusions and recommendations with the UBC community. The reader should bear in mind that this is a student project/report and is not an official document of UBC. Furthermore readers should bear in mind that these reports may not reflect the current status of activities at UBC. We urge you to contact the research persons mentioned in a report or the SEEDS Coordinator about the current status of the subject matter of a project/report.”

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