January 27, 2018

Oceanside Uses LIDAR Data for Urban Forest Planning

The North County city of Oceanside is in the early stages of an effort to increase the city’s tree canopy by approximately 200 trees annually, a goal proposed in its draft Climate Action Plan. To help develop the plan, the city, with TreeSD’s assistance, took advantage of LIDAR technology, which takes an aerial laser-based scan of ground surface details, including density and height. We provided a synthesis of existing LIDAR data pertaining the city, and the city now can further examine its tree canopy by neighborhood, land-use types, and other factors such as socio-economic indicators. This information will help city planners identify those neighborhoods most in need of additional tree canopy and where more trees can be accommodated, as well as quantify the actual number of trees and their specific locations.  The result should be a systematic tree-planting program to increase and improve Oceanside’s urban forest canopy and calculate its environmental benefits.

In support of his city’s process, Russ Cunningham, Oceanside’s Principal Planner, says, “In our public outreach for this project, we have heard from stakeholders that protecting and expanding the City’s tree canopy is one important way to enhance the City’s image and improve residents’ quality of life.  We have thus identified expansion of the City’s tree canopy as an economic development strategy as well as a means of reducing the City’s carbon footprint.”

TreeSD has involved Oceanside in our emerging initiative to develop a North County Coastal Tree Steward Corps. Together we hope these efforts will help to secure, as Russ says, “the community’s commitment to nurturing the trees that will provide beauty, shade, a refuge for wildlife, and other benefits to Oceanside’s public spaces.”

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