Master's Culminating Experience
Objective: Air pollution is associated with negative respiratory and cardiovascular health outcomes. According to the American Lung Association listing for 2011, the Dayton-Springfield-Greenville, OH area ranks 22 out of 277 US cities for year round particulate pollution. The tree canopy cover plays a significant role to reduce air pollution. The purpose of this analysis was to quantify the role of urban forestry in the Dayton, Ohio metropolitan area in reducing air pollution.
Methods: Using a peer-reviewed model designed by the US Forest Service, the imagery data was analyzed to create a descriptive analysis of the canopy cover in the Dayton, Ohio Study area. A secondary geospatial analysis was conducted by building a region map based on US Census poverty data, and layering the study area canopy data onto the image. Data used in the models was obtained from the Department of Agriculture Forest Service, and the Multi-Resolution Land Characteristics Database.
Results: Analysis of the Dayton, Ohio Study area shows that the canopy cover within this area is responsible for the removal of approximately 101.6 short tons of Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2), 242.9 short tons of Ozone (O3), 51.3 short tons of Sulfur Dioxide (SO2), 177.5 short tons of Particulate Matter (PM10), and sequester 22,278.6 short tons of Carbon annually. The secondary analysis displayed changes to the initial reduction estimates based on two separate scenarios, substantial growth and loss of canopy cover. In the case of expansion of canopy cover to 25% of the study area, an increase in reduction of roughly 50% in all pollutants was shown. The scenario displaying a 10% loss of canopy cover displayed a loss in pollution reduction across all measured pollutants. In all analyses, the most heavily removed pollutant was carbon, while the most valuable pollutant removed was Ozone, at approximately 46% of total removal value.
Conclusion: The canopy cover of the Dayton, Ohio study area plays a significant and constant role in helping to reduce air pollution. Urban Forestry should be a part of any comprehensive pollution reduction plan. More should be done to increase urban forestry efforts, to further inhibit pollution build up and disperse the benefits of canopy cover more widely.
Clemens, N. P. (2011). A Geospatial Analysis of the Role of Urban Forestry in Outdoor Ambient Air Pollution Reduction in Dayton, Ohio. Wright State University, Dayton, Ohio.