New Hampshire leads nation in percent tree cover

August 6, 2012, USDA Forest Service

Tree cover in the nation's Lower 48 states covers 659 million acres, more than one-third of the nation, according to a U.S. Forest Service study of national tree cover and impervious surfaces. New Hampshire leads the nation in percent tree cover (89 percent), followed by Maine (83 percent) and Vermont (82 percent). On the other end of the spectrum, North Dakota has the lowest percent tree cover (3 percent), followed by Nebraska (4 percent) and South Dakota (6 percent).

Using aerial photograph interpretation of circa 2005 imagery, U.S. Forest Service researchers Dave Nowak and Eric Greenfield found that in urban and community areas, percent tree cover is highest in Connecticut (67 percent) and lowest in Nevada (10 percent). The study, "Tree and impervious cover in the United States," was recently published in the journal Landscape and .

" are a vital part of the nation's landscape," said Michael T. Rains, director of the Forest Service's Northern Research Station. " science is supporting stewardship of urban forests with tools that communities, organizations and home owners can use to better understand the environmental benefits of trees."

Impervious cover in the conterminous United States is estimated at 2 percent, or 46 million acres. That percent goes up in urban areas, where impervious cover accounts for 25 percent of land cover. New Jersey leads the nation in impervious cover (12 percent) and Wyoming has the least statewide impervious cover (0.5 percent).

Both people and nature play a role in urban forestry, according to Nowak. "This research demonstrates how in concert with how we develop and manage communities significantly impacts tree cover in urban areas," Nowak said. "Cover data of a city or region can provide a baseline for developing management plans, setting tree cover goals, and for monitoring change through time, all of which are essential to sustaining urban forests."

Explore further: Study: Nation's urban forests losing ground

Related Stories

Study: Nation's urban forests losing ground

February 23, 2012

National results indicate that tree cover in urban areas of the United States is declining at a rate of about 4 million trees per year, according to a U.S. Forest Service study published recently in Urban Forestry & Urban ...

Tennessee's urban forests valued in the billions

March 14, 2012

Tennessee's urban forests, currently valued at about $80 billion, also provide almost $650 million in benefits such as carbon storage, pollution removal, and energy reduction according to a new U.S. Forest Service report.

Recommended for you

Antarctic ice shelf 'sings' as winds whip across its surface

October 16, 2018

Winds blowing across snow dunes on Antarctica's Ross Ice Shelf cause the massive ice slab's surface to vibrate, producing a near-constant set of seismic "tones" scientists could potentially use to monitor changes in the ice ...

New understanding of Mekong River incision

October 16, 2018

An international team of earth scientists has linked the establishment of the Mekong River to a period of major intensification of the Asian monsoon during the middle Miocene, about 17 million years ago, findings that supplant ...

World Heritage sites threatened by sea level rise

October 16, 2018

From Venice and the tower of Pisa to the medieval city of Rhodes, dozens of UNESCO World Heritage sites in the Mediterranean basin are deeply threatened by rising sea levels, researchers warned Tuesday.

Was life on the early Earth purple?

October 16, 2018

Early life forms on Earth may have been able to generate metabolic energy from sunlight using a purple-pigmented molecule called retinal that possibly predates the evolution of chlorophyll and photosynthesis. If retinal has ...

New interactive scenario explorer for 1.5 degrees C pathways

October 16, 2018

IIASA and the Integrated Assessment Modeling Consortium (IAMC) have made the scenarios underlying last week's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 1.5°C Special Report publicly available in an interactive online ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.