Spatial and Temporal Patterns Associated with Permitted Tree Removal in Austin, Texas, 2002–2011
A wide-ranging set of physical, urban, demographic, socioeconomic, and policy characteristics determines the spatial distribution of urban forests. Information on the characteristics surrounding tree removals on both public and private properties has received less attention in the literature. The purpose of this research was to analyze the spatiotemporal trends and geographic patterns of tree removals in Austin, Texas, between 2002 and 2011 in an effort to understand how site-specific characteristics influence urban tree removal and affect the overall distribution of Austin's urban forest. We examined permitted tree removals using a geographic information system (GIS) as well as spatial and statistical analyses. Specifically, we evaluated the degree to which variables related to various physical, urban, and socioeconomic conditions predicted tree removals. The results indicate that permitted tree removals and their associated characteristics in Austin have varied over the ten-year study period. Permitted tree removals increased over the study period and took place in the urban core and along the urban periphery. Permitted tree removals were more likely to be undertaken by college graduates and owner-occupants and to occur in more densely populated areas, closer to major streets, and on properties with older structures. The results of this research provide urban forest professionals with information on the location and intensity of permitted tree removals and the significant characteristics driving urban tree loss.
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