David Stephenson, Idaho Department of Lands, dstephenson@idl.idaho.gov (Presenter)


The greater Boise area is on the edge of going non-attainment for air quality, and energy demand is fast approaching existing supply. These two issues threaten to increase future business and transportation costs, regulations, and limit economic growth. A group representing area energy, city planning, transportation, economic development, forestry and airshed management professionals has initiated a project to understand the current value of tree canopy in addressing these issues, and how to strategically grow this resource to maximize future benefits on a regional scale. With the help of a grant from the USDA Forest Service, a permanent sample plot-based inventory and analyses was completed over nine area cities. A complementary geospatial canopy assessment is underway and will be completed this summer (2012). Together, these describe the extent, structure, function and value of the current urban tree canopy, with a focus on air quality improvement and energy conservation. Development of dynamic prioritization tools will help managers model future tree canopy scenarios for a variety of purposes. This project will help target investments, including incentive programs, in areas that will yield the greatest value and benefit.