Remote Sensing Limits in Urban Forest Inventories

City of San Antonio, Texas

The City of San Antonio, in conjunction with the Texas Forest Service and the SSL is developing a method to inventory “significant” trees in undeveloped areas in rapidly expanding urban areas. Large-scale, color infrared, geo-referenced aerial photography is being used to determine the species and crown diameter of individual trees. An estimate of the diameter at breast height for each tree will determined through linear regression. This data will be incorporated into a GIS that can be used by urban planners to gauge the impact of urban expansion on existing forest resources and to develop conservation plans that ameliorate the loss of native vegetation prior to construction. The methodology of this study should serve as a model for other Texas communities.