University of FloridaSolutions for Your Life

Download PDF
Publication #FOR348

Executive Summary of Gainesville’s Urban Forest in 20161

Michael G. Andreu, Caroline A. Hament, David A. Fox, and Robert J. Northrop2

From May to October 2016, one hundred and seventy-seven plots were sampled and analyzed to quantify the vegetation structure, functions, and values of the urban forest in Gainesville. This project was done in partnership with the city of Gainesville’s Parks, Recreation, and Cultural Affairs Department.

The ecological assessment provides a detailed look into some of the economic and ecological values of the city of Gainesville’s urban forest. The outcomes from this study can serve as the basis for the following:

  • Enhancing the understanding of the urban forest’s values.

  • Improving urban forest policies.

  • Planning and managing the urban forest .

  • Providing empirical data for the inclusion of trees within environmental regulations.

In addition to field sampling of urban forest vegetation, a separate analysis was done by the University of South Florida using high-resolution imagery to assess canopy cover in Gainesville.

The full report describes the methodologies used to conduct the inventory and assessment, and it is available via this link: http://sfrc.ufl.edu/wp-content/uploads/GNV-ECO-Report-2016.pdf

This document provides an executive summary of the economic values and ecological structure of Gainesville’s urban forest.

Economic Values

  • Compensatory value: $1.4 billion.

  • Total savings from urban forest benefits: $24.4 million/ year.

  • Residential heating and cooling savings: $7.7 million/ year.

  • Avoided air pollution abatement value: $2.7 million/ year.

  • Public health savings: $2.66 million/year.

  • Carbon sequestration: 44,200 tons of carbon per year ($5.88 million/year).

  • Carbon storage: 746,000 tons of carbon ($99.2 million).

  • Avoided stormwater costs: $3.8 million/year.

Ecological Structure

  • Number of trees: 7.2 million. “Trees” in this study are defined as woody stems at least an inch in diameter at breast height (DBH).

  • Tree canopy cover: 47%.

  • Number of species identified: 173 (97 in tree stratum; 153 in shrub stratum).

  • Loblolly pine, slash pine, laurel oak, water oak, and red maple make up over half of Gainesville’s urban forest.

  • Over 94% of tree species identified are native to Florida.

  • Average density: 178 trees per acre.

  • 60% of trees in Gainesville are less than 6 inches in diameter.

  • 80% of trees are in excellent or good condition, 11% in fair condition, and 9% in poor condition or dead.

  • 30% of the city is covered by shrubs.

  • 24% of the city is covered by impervious surfaces, and 23% is covered by maintained grass.

Footnotes

1.

This document is FOR348, one of a series of the School of Forest Resources and Conservation, UF/IFAS Extension. Original publication date August 2019. Visit the EDIS website at https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu for the currently supported version of this publication.

2.

Michael G. Andreu, associate professor of Forest Systems; Caroline A. Hament, student; David A. Fox, lecturer, School of Forest Resources and Conservation; and Robert J. Northrop, Extension forester, UF/IFAS Extension Hillsborough County; UF/IFAS Extension, Gainesville, FL 32611.


The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) is an Equal Opportunity Institution authorized to provide research, educational information and other services only to individuals and institutions that function with non-discrimination with respect to race, creed, color, religion, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, political opinions or affiliations. For more information on obtaining other UF/IFAS Extension publications, contact your county's UF/IFAS Extension office.

U.S. Department of Agriculture, UF/IFAS Extension Service, University of Florida, IFAS, Florida A & M University Cooperative Extension Program, and Boards of County Commissioners Cooperating. Nick T. Place, dean for UF/IFAS Extension.