First Advisor

Heejun Chang

Date of Publication

Spring 6-4-2019

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.) in Geography






Forest canopies -- Oregon -- Portland, Urban forestry



Physical Description

1 online resource (vi, 72 pages)


Urban forests have positive impacts on human and ecosystem health, reduce stress on aging stormwater infrastructure, increase property values, and reduce energy consumption. The scale of these benefits ranges from the hyper-local to the global. While the benefits of urban forests can extend well beyond the boundaries of cities, they often do not reach all residents of the city equally. Urban forest policies do not adequately address environmental equity or employ planting strategies with knowledge of the social and political factors that determine the spatial variations of tree canopy extent in cities. Chapter I analyzes the determinants of current canopy extent in Portland, OR using spatial regression analysis. Chapter II uses current landcover datasets to identify potential planting opportunities. Results of spatial regression show that income and education level are significantly positively linked to tree canopy, while sewer pipe density, an indicator of development, is negatively associated with canopy. The majority of tree canopy and potential in the city occurs on private, residential lands. Distribution of canopy potential is not even, with greater amounts in north and outer east side areas. Findings presented here will inform efforts to expand tree canopy in Portland in a manner that is spatially explicit and based on Portland's unique demographics, land use assemblage, and development policies.


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