Skip to page content
USDA Forest Service

Research & Development Treesearch

Treesearch Home
About Treesearch
Contact Us
Research & Development
Forest Products Lab
International Institute of Tropical Forestry
Pacific Northwest
Pacific Southwest
Rocky Mountain
Southern Research Station
Help - We Participate  Government Made Easy

Global Forest Information Service

US Forest Service
P.O. Box 96090
Washington, D.C.

(202) 205-8333

You are here: Home / Search / Publication Information
Bookmark and Share

Publication Information

View PDF (1.7 MB)

Title: Assessing urban vacant land ecosystem services: Urban vacant land as green infrastructure in the City of Roanoke, Virginia

Author: Kim, Gunwoo; Miller, Patrick A.; Nowak, David J.;

Date: 2015

Source: Urban Forestry & Urban Greening. 14(3): 519-526.

Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)

Description: The research reported here quantifies the ecosystem services and values of vacant land using the City of Roanoke, Virginia as a study site. Aerial photo interpretation with ground-truthing was used to identify and catalog vacant parcels of land within the city limits and the results mapped using the i-Tree Canopy and i-Tree Eco models to define land cover classes and quantify ecosystem structure and services. An analysis of urban forest cover in Roanoke’s vacant land reveals that this area has about 210,000 trees, with a tree cover of 30.6%. These trees store about 97,500 t of carbon, valued at $7.6 million. In addition, these trees remove about 2090 t of carbon (valued at $164,000), and about 83 t of air pollutants (valued at $916,000) every year, which is high relative to other land uses in Roanoke. Trees on vacant land in the city are estimated to reduce annual residential energy costs by $211,000 for the city’s 97,000 residents. The structural value of the trees growing on vacant land is estimated at $169 million. Information on the structure and functions of urban forests on vacant land can be used to evaluate the contribution made by urban vacant land's green infrastructure to improving environmental quality. The methodology applied to assess ecosystem services in this study can also be used to assess ecosystem services of vacant land in other urban contexts.

Keywords: Ecosystem services, i-Tree, Urban forestry

Publication Notes:

  • We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
  • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.
  • This publication may be available in hard copy. Check the Northern Research Station web site to request a printed copy of this publication.
  • Our on-line publications are scanned and captured using Adobe Acrobat. During the capture process some typographical errors may occur. Please contact Sharon Hobrla, if you notice any errors which make this publication unusable.



Kim, Gunwoo; Miller, Patrick A.; Nowak, David J. 2015. Assessing urban vacant land ecosystem services: Urban vacant land as green infrastructure in the City of Roanoke, Virginia. Urban Forestry & Urban Greening. 14(3): 519-526.


 [ Get Acrobat ]  Get the latest version of the Adobe Acrobat reader or Acrobat Reader for Windows with Search and Accessibility

USDA logo which links to the department's national site. Forest Service logo which links to the agency's national site.