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Spatial and temporal trends of tree species loss due to urbanization in Austin, Texas

Authors: Luzyannet Ballesteros Gonzalez*, Tne University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, Brendan L. Lavy, The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley
Topics: Environmental Science, Human-Environment Geography, Geographic Information Science and Systems
Keywords: Urban forest, species, urbanization, policy, geographic information systems
Session Type: Poster
Day: 4/8/2020
Start / End Time: 3:20 PM / 4:35 PM
Room: Virtual Track 3
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Urban forests provide a variety of ecosystem services to growing metropolitan areas such as flood mitigation, carbon sequestration, energy conservation, and human health and well being. Texas hosts four of the top 20 fastest growing urban areas; this rapid urbanization contributes to urban forest loss from new development as well as redevelopment. In response, municipal governments across Texas have implemented Tree Preservation Ordinances (TPOs) in order to regulate tree removals. TPOs not only aid in the protection and preservation of trees but also allow cities to monitor and analyze data of trees removed. The purpose of this study is to identify spatial and temporal trends based on species removed from 2010 to 2018. The data set is composed of over 10,000 permitted tree removals in Austin, Texas, which contain further information such as species, location, reason, and type of removal. A geographic information system (GIS) was used to analyze such trends visually. Preliminary results show over 50 different species removed in various amounts. Live Oak (Quercus virginiana) was the main species removed and is primarily associated with new development. This study provides a framework for further analysis regarding the maintenance of biodiversity in a changing urban landscape.

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