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City of Tampa Urban Forest Analysis and Management Plan 2010-2012

Introduction

The City of Tampa (City), University of South Florida (USF), University of Florida (UF) and the UF-IFAS/Hillsborough Extension Service completed and ecological analysis of the City's urban forest in 2006-2007 [1]. Nearly five years old, the 2006 project examined the temporal change in canopy coverage from 1975-2006 and concluded that average citywide tree cover of 29% had returned to 1970s levels, that tree cover change was not positive in all areas of the City, but that the potential existed to substantially increase tree cover on most land uses within the City. The project also established two-hundred permanent sampling plots to conduct a robust scientific analysis of the vegetative structure, functions and values provided by Tampa's urban forest. The estimated 7.8 million trees in Tampa provided ecosystem services with an annual economic value in the tens of millions of dollars and a replacement value of $1.4 billion, but that the health of trees on privately maintained land uses was much lower than those on publicly maintained lands. Using the results of the 2006-2007 study and grant monies from the State of Florida, the project team developed a report describing existing and possible urban tree canopy [2] and helped the City initiate the process to develop a long-term urban forest management plan. A major outcome of this effort was a vision (with goals) for urban forest sustainability developed by the Mayor's Steering Committee on Urban Forest Sustainability. More recently, the project team assisted the Department of Parks and Recreation to develop a survey of community preferences regarding urban forests. This project will re-examine the City's urban forest as required by the Tampa tree ordinance (Ord. No. 2006-74, § 9, 3-23-06) and develop Tampa's first long-term urban forest management plan.

The project team will leverage the results of recent efforts to benefit the City. As part of the Tampa Bay Watershed Forest Working Group, project team members have conducted several scientific and applied research projects to better understand the social, physical, ecological and economic dimensions associated with urban forest management in the Tampa Bay area. Research funding from sources other than the City have contributed to knowledge that will be shared with and used by the stakeholders who will participate in the development of the City of Tampa Urban Forest Management Plan.

Purpose

The purpose of this project will be three-fold:

1. To re-inventory Tampa's urban forest in order to complete a 5-year update to the Tampa Urban Ecological Analysis (UEA);
2. To utilize both new and previously collected field and remote sampling information to conduct a detailed analysis of structural and spatial change to Tampa's urban forest since 2006; and
3. To develop a science-based, publicly-supported, fiscally responsible Urban Forest Management Plan based on the vision and goals developed by the Mayor's Steering Committee on Urban Forest Sustainability.

The project will be led by members of the unique research team representing the City, USF, UF, IFAS and nationally recognized urban researchers from the USDA Forest Service and the Spatial Analysis Laboratory of the University of Vermont.

Download the full Scope of Work for this project: TampaUEA_2010-12_SOW_WEB.pdf (PDF, 307 kb)

Project Management

Background Information

City of Tampa Urban Ecological Analysis 1975-1996. Kyle Campbell and Shawn Landry, 1999.

City of Tampa Urban Ecological Analysis 2006-2007: Final Report to the City of Tampa, April 24, 2008. Andreu, Michael G., Melissa H. Friedman, Shawn M. Landry and Robert J. Northrop, 2008.

Social Survey

  • Community Preferences Survey and Analysis. As an initial step in the development of a comprehensive plan for the City of Tampa's urban forest, members of the TBWFWG have designed a social survey to identify the perceptions of Tampa neighborhood association members regarding the urban forest. The survey will provide critical information on the technical needs of neighborhoods, their desire to participate in the urban forest planning process, as well as identifying educational opportunities.

  • 2007 Survey. A similar social survey was conducted in 2007 of community leaders in Hillsborough County, Florida. http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/fr255

  • 2010 Survey. For a summary of survey findings, view the slideshow and presentations from October 5, 2011 Public Meeting (listed above)

  • Focus Groups Final Report (PDF, 223 kb)

  • Neighborhood Leaders Survey Summary of Outcomes (PDF, 82 kb)

Selected Additional Information about Urban Forests Benefits and Management

City of Tampa Urban Forest Management Plan Definitions (PDF, 269 kb)

American with Disabilities Act, Sidewalks and Trees - Resolving Conflicts

  • On July 27, 2011, the University of Florida IFAS - Hillsborough County Extension in cooperation with the City of Tampa Department of Parks and Recreation presented a symposium for urban planners, designers, engineers, public works/maintenance staff and foresters on the American with Disabilities Act's requirements for sidewalks. The presentations addressed how to manage trees and large woody plants within pedestrian rights of way to meet ADA standards and how ADA might be amended to accommodate the hardscape designs needed to grow healthy tree cover in urban areas and reduce long term maintenance expenses.

October 5, 2011 Public Meeting - Urban Forest Management Plan

Public Meeting Video Presentations (each link will open a new window)

Fact Sheets and Posters

Large Format Posters

Questions / Comments

For questions or comments concerning the City of Tampa Urban Forestry efforts:

Kathy Beck
Natural Resource Coordinator
City of Tampa Planning and Development
Kathy.Beck@tampagov.net

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[1] Andreu, MG, Friedman, MH, Landry, SM, & Northrop, RJ. (2008). City of Tampa Urban Ecological Analysis 2006-2007: City of Tampa Parks and Recreation Department. Available as Florida Cooperative Extension Service EDIS document FOR203, http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/fr255

[2] Landry, SM, Andreu, MG, Friedman, MH, & Northrop, RJ. (2009). A report on the City of Tampa's existing and possible urban tree canopy. Final report to the City of Tampa, February 19, 2009.: City of Tampa, Florida, A Report on the City's Existing and Possible Urban Tree Canopy (PDF, 3 mb)