Preserving and increasing urban greenness, vegetation and urban tree canopy cover has become one of the most critical considerations for strategic planning within local government organisations. The urban forest and community green spaces have been identified as an important asset that policymakers can use to mitigate the many negative environmental effects of urbanisation and the environmental hazards associated with ongoing climate change, including Urban Heat Islands. As the scientific community’s understanding of the importance of the cooling effects of trees within urban environments has increased, so have the efforts of national, state, and local governments to measure, assess and increase the number of trees and green spaces within their government areas. Remote sensing technologies such as Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) can provide policy makers and environmental management experts at all government levels with the critical information required to assess the benefits and value of the urban forest.
Over the past year, Aerometrex has worked alongside numerous local and state governments across Australia to develop remote sensing methodologies specifically designed to measure the spatial distribution of tree canopy coverage, identify the amount of available plantable space, quantify how the tree canopy is changing with time and classify the nature of the changes that are occurring. Presented here are the results of a range of case studies from across metropolitan Adelaide that have utilised LIDAR and aerial imagery to measure the urban forest to help develop urban forest management practices for the future, including:
- Metropolitan Adelaide’s 2018 LIDAR-derived tree canopy cover benchmark dataset.
- City-wide assessment of the amount and spatial distribution of plantable space across Adelaide.
- Assessing tree canopy change at the council scale to develop management policies to reduce ongoing threats to the urban forest.
Dr Samuel Holt
Sam is currently part of the Research & Development Team at Aerometrex, working closely with various stakeholders across the government & private sectors.
Sam has a strong foundation in Earth Sciences and a keen interest in the acquisition and processing of 3D geospatial datasets. He completed a PhD in Physical Volcanology and Bachelor of Science with Honours in Geology and Geophysics before pursuing his keen interest in remote sensing of the natural and urban environment by completing his Graduate Diploma in GIS & Remote Sensing.
He is passionate about building actionable information and solutions using geospatial data to enable environmental management experts and policymakers to build community resilience to a wide range of environmental hazards. Over the past year, Sam has led the development of Airborne LIDAR-derived methodologies aimed at quantitative modelling vegetation within the urban environment, with the goal of enabling all levels of government to work towards more sustainable communities.