Tree cover dropped slightly over eight years

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Vancouver — The city of Vancouver lost only 4.3 percent of its tree canopy from 2003 to 2010, despite significant development pressures, according to a recently completed comprehensive assessment, Vancouver said in a news bulletin.

The city said the assessment shows that a canopy goal of covering 28 percent of Vancouver by 2030 is achievable through conservation and tree plantings.

The results of the assessment, funded by a grant from the U.S. Forest Service Urban and Community Forestry Program and the Washington Department of Natural Resources, were made available by Vancouver Urban Forestry.

Tree canopy is assessed by the outline of tree foliage that is visible in aerial imagery.

According to the report, tree canopy within the city is at 18.6 percent of Vancouver’s 29,998 total land acres, compared to 19.4 percent in 2003, with the loss due mainly to development.

Of that 18.6 percent tree canopy, 62.5 percent is found on private property; 22.5 percent is found on public property and 15 percent, including street trees, is found in the right-of-way.

Benefits trees provide to the community include improved stormwater management, improved air quality, increased wildlife habitat, and lower heating and cooling costs, the city said.

The assessment also ranked every neighborhood in Vancouver for tree canopy cover. Residents can view how their neighborhood rated in Appendix 7 at the end of the 2011 Tree Canopy Assessment Report, available online at http://cityofvancouver.us/urbanforestry.