The City of Tampa and the University of South Florida completed an ecological assessment of the City’s urban forest in the mid-1990’s, examining the temporal change in canopy coverage between 1975-1996, the spatial variation in canopy coverage in 1996 and the estimated benefits provided by the urban forest. In 2006, USF partnered with the University of Florida and IFAS Extension Services to conduct a more thorough ecological assessment; quantify the change in overall canopy coverage 1996 to 2006; provide a three-dimensional description of the forest structure and composition; and estimate the economic and ecological values of the City of Tampa’s urban forest. Using very high resolution remote sensing techniques, the study identified over 21,000 acres of tree canopy; 29% of the City’s land area. Using data from over 200 field plots and peer-reviewed quantitative models developed by the USDA, the compensatory value of Tampa’s urban forest (i.e. replacement in the event of disaster) was nearly $1.5 billion. Ecosystem services such as carbon sequestration and pollutant removal alone was estimated at over $7 million dollars annually. The results from this study were highly praised by Tampa City Council and led to a follow-up project City of Tampa Urban and Community Forestry Grant: Toward the Development of a Strategy for Urban Forest Sustainability
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 analysis of Tampa’s existing and possible urban tree canopy was completed as a follow-up to the City of Tampa Urban Ecological Analysis conducted in 2006-2007. Our goal was to leverage the high resolution geospatial datasets developed during the Urban Ecological Analysis to compute UTC metrics at the parcel level and summarize this information both by land use and by spatial distribution.
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.