Louisville’s Tree Canopy

Louisville’s tree canopy is experiencing a steady decline -- our city lost the equivalent of more than 54,000 trees per year between 2004 and 2012. The 2015 Urban Tree Canopy Assessment reveals changes in tree canopy cover, neighborhood by neighborhood, over an eight year period. A number of factors contributed to this loss, including thunderstorms and ice storms, tree removal for development, and the fact that not enough new trees were planted to offset the loss of old, dying trees.

Louisville is also now host to the Emerald Ash Borer - an exotic pest that has decimated ash tree populations across the Midwest. Ash trees comprise 10%-17% of suburban and rural forests, meaning hundreds of thousands of ash trees will be lost in Louisville within the next five to ten years. Given the historic trend of tree loss combined with the inevitable loss of ash trees from EAB, aggressive steps must be taken to address canopy levels, or Louisville will experience a further decrease in urban tree canopy (UTC) from 37% to as low as 21% over the next decades.

PRIVATE LANDS: THE GREATEST OPPORTUNITY TO EXPAND OUR TREE CANOPY

Homeowners, commercial properties and other private landholders hold the key to helping our tree canopy flourish. That’s why we partner with large landowners like Jefferson County Public Schools and provide incentives for individual homeowners to plant trees -- by combining efforts and resources, we can strategically grow our urban forest.

How’s the canopy in your neighborhood?

The 78 neighborhoods within the old city boundaries of Louisville have a combined canopy cover of just 26%. How does your neighborhood stack up?

SEE THE RANKINGS

MOST COVERAGE

Iroquois Park = 68%
Cherokee Park = 55%
Cherokee Gardens = 53%
Brownsboro Zorn = 51%
Audubon Park = 48%

LEAST COVERAGE

University = 11%
Phoenix Hill = 11%
Central Business District = 8%
Fairgrounds = 6%
Standiford = 3%

Why are we losing trees in Louisville?

Louisville’s trees face a number of threats:

  • STORMS
  • ATTRITION
  • EMERALD ASH BORER
  • DEVELOPMENT
  • DISEASE
READ THE 2015 UTC STUDY