of Austin's total land area covered by tree canopy
Our community recognizes that the urban forest provides social, ecological, and economic benefits. These benefits enhance the quality of life for Austin’s residents. The City of Austin (City) strives to maintain the health and integrity of our community's tree canopy. We do this by preserving trees during land development, planting new trees, and caring for existing trees.
Austin has an estimated 33.8 million trees (Austin's Urban Forest, 2014). These trees all contribute to our tree canopy. Tree canopy includes tree leaves, branches, and stems. The City measures tree canopy every four years. Information about change in canopy cover over time is useful to better manage and care for the urban forest. A healthy full tree canopy is imperative to ensuring that the community continues to receive the benefits provided by our trees. The urban forest is composed of all trees and woody vegetation within the city.
Many factors impact the urban forest including pest and disease, extreme weather from a changing climate, and land development. City and regional partners coordinate efforts to maintain and increase the percentage of tree canopy cover. Local partnerships provide additional education and stewardship opportunities to the community.
To understand the extent of our community’s urban forest, the City of Austin completes an urban tree canopy assessment on a four-year cycle beginning in base year 2006. The assessment measures tree canopy cover as a percentage of the total land area within Austin’s jurisdiction. By having multi-year measurements, we can monitor changes in tree canopy over time. This helps evaluate efforts like tree protection and tree planting.
Note: to see the underlying data for this chart, please click the vertical dots menu and select "View Source Data."
Additional Measure Insights
City departments and local partners work together to support the health of Austin's urban forest. Trees are preserved through development regulations that prioritize the retention of existing trees. To learn more click on the reports and resources below.
Additional Resources: Community Tree Report – An annual report by the Community Tree Preservation Division, examining investment in tree stewardship in Austin from non-general fund sources.
Community Tree Priority Map - A tree-planting priority analysis and map for identifying where trees should be planted on public land in Austin.
State of our Environment - report provides a snapshot of the current condition of Austin's air, land, water, and forest.
Austin’s Green Infrastructure – Examines Austin’s green infrastructure in the context of the Imagine Austin mission to Protect Environmentally Sensitive Areas & Integrate Nature into the City.
Austin’s Urban Forestry Inventory Analysis, Austin’s Urban Forest, 2014 - An analysis of the urban forest in Austin, Texas. Explore the data at My Cities Trees.
Measure Details and Definition
1) Definition: Percent tree canopy is the percentage of total land area within Austin’s jurisdiction covered by tree canopy (leaves, branches, stems).
2) Calculation method: Percent tree canopy is calculated by dividing tree canopy acres by land acres and multiplying by 100. Land acres includes all land within the City of Austin’s jurisdiction including Full Purpose, Limited Purpose, and Extraterritorial jurisdictions.
3) Data Collection Process: Tree canopy is digitized from remotely sensed imagery taken during the “leaf-on” growing season. The process is computer-automated using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to extract tree canopy from the images using an image classification process.
4) Measure Target Calculation: 36% canopy maintained with a goal of reaching 50% canopy cover by 2050.
5) Frequency Measure is Reported: Every 4 years
Date page was last updated: March 2023