Environmental and Economic Implications of Landscaping Policies in the Research Triangle Region of North CarolinaEPA Grant Number: U915402
Title: Environmental and Economic Implications of Landscaping Policies in the Research Triangle Region of North Carolina
Investigators: Lovett, Crystal Grace
Institution: Duke University
EPA Project Officer: Just, Theodore J.
Project Period: August 1, 1998 through August 1, 1999
Project Amount: $29,750
RFA: STAR Graduate Fellowships (1998) RFA Text | Recipients Lists
Research Category: Fellowship - Forestry , Biology/Life Sciences , Ecological Indicators/Assessment/Restoration , Academic Fellowships
The objectives of this research project are to: (1) demonstrate how trees provide environmental and, by extrapolation, economic benefits through stormwater runoff reduction, air pollution prevention, carbon sequestration, and energy savings; and (2) determine how development plans and government policies can be created to capture these benefits.
CITYgreen is an interactive program developed by American Forests for mapping urban ecology and measuring the economic benefits of trees, soils, and other natural resources. It utilizes ArcView 3.0 for Windows Geographic Information Systems software with aerial photography and satellite imagery for local and regional analysis. Trees, buildings, impervious surfaces, and grasslands are digitized from scanned images of selected sites in Raleigh, Durham, and Cary, North Carolina. The program calculates the volume and dollar amount of savings for sites meeting the minimum landscaping requirements of their respective municipalities. These calculations then are compared either to a site within a resource management area or to a model of the same site reflecting proposed ordinance changes. The differences suggest that there are substantial savings to be realized with improved policies concerning tree cover.
From the visual and statistical analysis from CITYgreen and knowledge of the policies and regulations regarding land use, options for forest conservation management will be created. The analysis findings will be a public policy tool to demonstrate to local decisionmakers the tangible and quantifiable values of their urban and suburban forest.