Correlates of urban forest canopy cover: Implications for Local Public Works

Nikolas C. Heynen, Greg Lindsey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

114 Scopus citations


Scientists and managers often use urban forest canopy cover as an indicator of forest health. Furthermore, canopy cover is often the measure communities use to set tree planting goals. Little is known, however, about factors that contribute to variation in canopy cover. We describe canopy cover in 60 urban areas in Central Indiana. We then propose and test a model that treats canopy cover as a function of ecological and geographic factors, urban form, socioeconomic factors, and a policy index. Urban areas are more likely to have more canopy cover if they are in counties with more canopy cover, have higher proportions of their populations with college degrees, have older housing stock, have both more land and land with slopes greater than 15%, and have denser stream networks. Population density, median household income, and planning and zoning or status as a Tree City are not correlated with urban canopy cover.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)33-47
Number of pages15
JournalPublic Works Management & Policy
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • Central Indiana
  • public works
  • tree canopy
  • urban forest


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