Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Tree Ordinances Protect Canopy, Lower A/C Bills, UF Study Shows

Date:
July 18, 2000
Source:
University Of Florida
Summary:
Municipal ordinances are a good way to preserve urban tree canopies and likely lower city residents' summer electricity bills, a University of Florida study suggests.

Writer: Aaron Hoover

Related Articles


Sources: Michael Binford, (352) 392-4652, [email protected]
Ryan Jensen, (812) 237-2258, [email protected]

GAINESVILLE, Fla. --- Municipal ordinances are a good way to preserve urban tree canopies and likely lower city residents' summer electricity bills, a University of Florida study suggests.

The study by UF geography researchers used a new method to compare the tree canopy in Gainesville, which has a strict tree ordinance, with nearby Ocala, which has a looser law. It concluded Gainesville's canopy is more than twice as thick as Ocala's -- and that the canopy's added shade is likely the reason Gainesville residents spend an average of $126 less than their Ocala counterparts for power bills annually.

"This study justifies in economic terms the existence of a tree ordinance," said Michael Binford, a UF associate professor of geography.

The study compared the tree canopies in both cities through satellite- and land-based observations combined with computer analysis. Where past studies tended to measure only the top surface of the canopy, the UF method measured the top leaf coverage as well as leaves beneath. To do that, researchers combined images of the cities' tree canopies from a satellite with ground-based light measurements and analyzed the data with an "artificial neural network," an analytical computing technique that mimics the action of biological nerve systems.

The analysis generated a number for the leaf area index, or square meters of leaves per square meter of ground, for each city. Gainesville's index was 4.61, while Ocala's was 2.13, meaning Gainesville has more than twice the leaf coverage of Ocala.

Ryan Jensen, who did the study for his doctoral research, said a prominent reason for the difference is that Gainesville has far stricter rules than Ocala regarding tree removal.

A couple of examples: In Gainesville, anyone who wants to cut down a tree with a trunk diameter greater than 30 inches in a residential area must apply for a permit. In Ocala, no permit is required, as long as the lot is less than three acres, according to a comparison of the rules in Jensen's thesis. Gainesville residents caught removing a tree without a required permit, meanwhile, must replace the trees on an inch-per-inch basis, meaning if they illegally cut down a large tree they face the expensive proposition of replacing it with an equally large tree. In Ocala, illegally cut large trees can be replaced with multiple smaller trees, as long as the smaller trees have trunks at least 3 inches in diameter.

"The Ocala ordinance just doesn't have the teeth of the Gainesville ordinance, and the consequences are fairly significant," said Jensen, who earned his doctorate in May and is now an assistant professor of geography at Indiana State University in Terra Haute.

Jensen also compared household energy bills in Ocala and Gainesville, discovering Ocala residents pay an average of $126.40 more per year for electricity than Gainesville residents. He said the likely culprit is Ocala's thinner tree canopy and resulting sparser shade.

Binford said the UF satellite-computer method could be applied in other cities or regions as well as for related projects. For example, one of his graduate students is using a similar method to map productive cattle range land in South Florida.

"The method may have to be recalibrated, but it can be used for any vegetation."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of Florida. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of Florida. "Tree Ordinances Protect Canopy, Lower A/C Bills, UF Study Shows." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 July 2000. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/07/000707142450.htm>.
University Of Florida. (2000, July 18). Tree Ordinances Protect Canopy, Lower A/C Bills, UF Study Shows. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/07/000707142450.htm
University Of Florida. "Tree Ordinances Protect Canopy, Lower A/C Bills, UF Study Shows." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/07/000707142450.htm (accessed December 18, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Kids Die While Under Protective Services

Kids Die While Under Protective Services

AP (Dec. 18, 2014) As part of a six-month investigation of child maltreatment deaths, the AP found that hundreds of deaths from horrific abuse and neglect could have been prevented. AP's Haven Daley reports. (Dec. 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
When You Lose Weight, This Is Where The Fat Goes

When You Lose Weight, This Is Where The Fat Goes

Newsy (Dec. 17, 2014) Can fat disappear into thin air? New research finds that during weight loss, over 80 percent of a person's fat molecules escape through the lungs. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Hottest Food Trends for 2015

The Hottest Food Trends for 2015

Buzz60 (Dec. 17, 2014) Urbanspoon predicts whicg food trends will dominate the culinary scene in 2015. Mara Montalbano (@maramontalbano) has the story. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Rover Finds More Clues About Possible Life On Mars

Rover Finds More Clues About Possible Life On Mars

Newsy (Dec. 17, 2014) NASA's Curiosity rover detected methane on Mars and organic compounds on the surface, but it doesn't quite prove there was life ... yet. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins