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Publication Information

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Title: Rainfall interception by Santa Monica’s municipal urban forest

Author: Xiao, Q.; McPherson, E.G.;

Date: 2004

Source: Urban Ecosystems 6: 291-302

Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)

Description: Tree health is a critical parameter for evaluating urban ecosystem health and sustainability. Tradi­tionally, this parameter has been derived from field surveys. We used multispectral remote sensing data and GIS techniques to determine tree health at the University of California, Davis. The study area (363 ha) contained 8,962 trees of 215 species. Tree health conditions were mapped for each physiognomic type at two scales: pixel and whole tree. At the pixel scale, each tree pixel within the tree crown was classified as either healthy or unhealthy based on vegetation index values. At the whole tree scale, raster based statistical analysis was used to calculate tree health index which is the ratio of healthy pixels to entire tree pixels within the tree crown. The tree was classified as healthy if the index was greater than 70%. Accuracy was checked against a random sample of 1,186 trees. At the whole tree level, 86% of campus trees were classified as healthy with 88% mapping accuracy. At the pixel level, 86% of the campus tree cover was classified as healthy. This tree health evaluation approach allows managers to identify the location of unhealthy trees for further diagnosis and treatment. It can be used to track the spread of disease and monitor seasonal or annual changes in tree health. Also, it provides tree health information that is fundamental to modeling and analysis of the environmental, social, and economic services produced by urban forests.

Keywords: urban forest, rainfall interception, evaporation, urban runoff reduction

Publication Notes:

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  • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.



Xiao, Q.; McPherson, E.G. 2004. Rainfall interception by Santa Monica’s municipal urban forest. Urban Ecosystems. 6: 291-302.


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