Evaluation of the impact of government land use policies on tree canopy coverage in the Atlanta metropolitan statistical area
Hill, Elizabeth Shore
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This thesis presents an analysis of the effectiveness of land use policies in reducing the change in the percent of tree canopy covering land in Atlanta Metropolitan Statistical Area during the period from 1991 to 2001. High rates of tree canopy loss in the region during that period have been associated with the region’s explosive population growth, and it is expected that certain policies can substantially alleviate the loss of tree canopy. Two conclusions originated from the findings of this study. First, impervious surface, tree ordinance robustness, quality growth projects, increased existence of land uses that naturally sustain higher tree canopy levels, and emphasis on quality growth and tree canopy protection each aid in reducing the loss of the percent of tree canopy cover county land. Second, urbanization plays a major role in whether or not a county has established land use policies to protect tree canopy coverage.