The Florida Center at USF's School of Architecture completed an exciting research project to help the City of Tampa in the management of an important natural resource, the urban forest. Urban forests are vital to city life and provide residents with many benefits such as: reduction in household energy use, air pollution reduction, decreased stormwater runoff, and increased property values. Only recently with advancements in technology, have researchers been able to assign these services a dollar value and understand how a forest is changing over time. The Florida Center used the latest technology to help the local community understand this valuable resource. The Urban Ecological Analysis quantified how Tampa's tree canopy has changed over time, modeled the effects of the forest on the local ecology, and assessed the economic impact of the forest. The project was a partnership with the City of Tampa Parks Department.
The Urban Ecological Analysis quantified how Tampa's tree canopy has changed over time, modeled the effects of the forest on the local ecology, and assessed the economic impact of the forest.
Through a collaborative effort that involved the University of Florida, the University of South Florida, and the Hillsborough County Extension, an extensive inventory of Tampa’s urban forest was undertaken and analyzed during 2007. The inventory provided baseline information on location, composition, structure, and health while the analysis determined ecological function and economic value.
The City of Tampa Urban Ecological Assessment provides a detailed scientific look into the economic and ecological values of the City of Tampa’s urban forest. This report provides detailed information about the distribution of Tampa’s tree canopy cover, results of extensive field sampling that describe forest composition, structure and health, and model results that quantify the economic benefits and ecosystem services provided by Tampa’s urban forest.
This strategic plan for the management of Tampa’s urban forest addresses the numerous challenges to growing and maintaining a healthy urban forest in an efficient manner. It was developed with a 20-year planning horizon to meets the challenge of programmatic continuity by planning on a long time framework. It provides guidance for intermediate 5-year city-wide work planning as well as direct input into short-term annual departmental operational plans and decision-making.