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Contact information
For information on the Wisconsin Urban Forest Assessment Program:
Andy Stoltman
Rural and urban forest inventory analyst

Dan Buckler
Urban forest assessment specialist

Urban Forestry Assessment (WisUFA) ProgramUrban Tree Canopy (UTC) Analysis

Urban tree canopy is the total area of a community’s urban forest often expressed as the proportion of land covered by trees. The aim of a UTC assessment is to help decision makers understand their urban forest resources, particularly the amount of tree canopy that currently exists and the amount that could exist. A UTC assessment can be used to:

Aerial map of tree canopy

A neighborhood in Wausau shows a mix of tree canopy cover,
herbaceous plants (like grass) and impervious surfaces.

  • set canopy goals;
  • identify locations for tree planting efforts;
  • establish urban forestry strategic plans;
  • understand patterns of environmental justice;
  • inform sustainability plans; and
  • justify budget increases for urban forestry programs.

Working with UW-Madison, a tree canopy assessment was completed for all municipal* and urban areas** in Wisconsin using aerial imagery. Land was classified into tree/shrub, grass/herbaceous (non-woody vegetation), impervious surface (like roads or roofs), wetland and water categories. Note that urban areas represent densely developed contiguous lands and are present throughout the state.

You can also request summary canopy datasheets [PDF] for your community by contacting the DNR.

*Municipal boundaries are the borders of cities or villages. Townships are not included unless they fall within an urban** boundary. For example, some of the Town of Grand Chute falls within the Green Bay urban area. Additionally, municipalities which incorporated since after 2014 are not included.

**Urban areas are those lands classified by the U.S. Census Bureau [exit DNR] as densely developed territories, based on population densities. Urban areas are not limited to southeast Wisconsin, Madison and Green Bay, but are present throughout the state. Per the Census Bureau: “Urban areas represent densely developed territory, and encompass residential, commercial and other non-residential urban land uses. To qualify as an urban area, the territory identified according to criteria must encompass at least 2,500 people.”

Last revised: Monday June 10 2019