Assessing the impact of established juvenile trees on land surface temperature in Burncoat and Greendale neighborhoods in Worcester, MA

Authors: Andrew Pagan*, Clark University
Topics: Remote Sensing, Geographic Information Science and Systems
Keywords: Land surface temperature, juvenile trees, urban tree canopy, Landsat, Greening the Gateway Cities Program
Session Type: Poster
Day: 4/5/2019
Start / End Time: 3:05 PM / 4:45 PM
Room: Lincoln 2, Marriott, Exhibition Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


While it is understood that mature tree canopy contributes to land surface temperature (LST) regulation, little research has investigated whether established juvenile tree cohorts provide a similar effect. In this research, the Burncoat and Greendale neighborhoods in Worcester, Massachusetts serve as a case study due to a high presence of newly established trees. Following the Asian Longhorned Beetle eradication program that removed over 30,000 trees in northern Worcester and surrounding towns, the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) conducted a large-scale tree planting effort from 2013 to 2015 to help restore the urban tree canopy throughout the affected area. This research examines how the now-established juvenile trees have impacted the range of annual, seasonal and daily LST in the Burncoat and Greendale neighborhoods spanning 2008-2018. Trends in LST of Landsat -5, -7, and -8 thermal imagery were used to determine whether statistically significant changes in LST have occurred at the scale of the individual tree, residence and block level. Urban Tree canopy maps for the years 2008, 2010, 2015, and 2018 were used to choose control sites for forested and urban/impervious surfaces. Additionally, in situ Thermocron sensor data provided complimentary measurements of ambient temperature on a finer scale. The outcome of this study is important for informing future decisions made by the DCR as they continue to implement the Greening the Gateway Cities program, as well as other communities and organizations invested in green infrastructure.

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