Saturday, December 09, 2023

Discover Your Neighborhood Tree Score

The Woodland Trust has released a new interactive map which reveals the amount of tree canopy cover available in thousands of UK neighborhoods. Using the map you can discover the 'tree equity score' of Lower Layer Super Output Area (LSOA) in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

If you click on your neighborhood on the Tree Equity Score UK map you can discover its 'tree equity score', the current percentage of tree canopy cover, and the local levels of air pollution. The 'tree equity score' uses a range of factors to calculate "how well the benefits of trees are reaching communities living on low incomes and others disproportionately impacted by extreme heat, pollution and other environmental hazards." In other words it provides an overview of where investment in tree canopy cover is most acute. 

The score provides a single measure from 0-100 for each LSOA. The lower the tree equity score then the greater the need for investment.

The Woodland Trust's Tree Equity Score map was made in partnership with American Forests and is similar to the US Tree Equity Score map. In both the UK and the US the number of trees and the amount of tree cover is often very closely tied to the distribution of income and race. Trees are usually very sparse in low income areas. On the other hand neighborhoods with lots of trees and tree cover are very often the most expensive areas in which to live.

A lack of trees and tree cover in cities is one of the biggest causes of urban heat islands. Urban heat islands are areas of towns and cities which can become unbearably hot, especially on days with extreme heat. These areas can often become 10-20 degrees warmer than other areas in the very same city. Urban heat islands tend to occur in areas with the densest built environments and with very little tree canopy cover. Using the tree equity score maps it is possible to quickly determine the neighborhoods most in need of increased tree canopy cover.

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