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City Of Tampa And USF Start Tree Canopy Research Study

TAMPA, Fla. (CW44 News At 10) - The City of Tampa and the University of South Florida are starting a research study that will help the Tampa Bay's environment.

Over the next several weeks, researchers will be collecting information about the amount of trees there are in Tampa and how many more are needed. Experts are also asking residents to complete a survey.

City of Tampa Senior Forester Examiner, Brian Knox, says trees are vitally important in fast growing cities.

"The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago, but if you didn't plan one 20 years ago, the best time to plant it is today! It's Earth day! It's really important to have that canopy because canopies sequester carbon, canopy can help with property value, canopy can help reduce storm water," said Knox.

So that's why the City of Tampa and the University of South Florida are both teaming up to collect research about the amount of trees in the Tampa area.

"We count to types of trees, we count how many trees, we count the leaf area of trees," said Knox.

He says when the city did it's last tree study, back in 2016, it recorded 9.3 million trees within 27,000 acres of land.

"The canopy fluctuates, and this year it will be really interesting to see what the number is in terms of an increase or a decrease," said Knox.

Rebecca Zarger works at the University of South Florida, Department of Anthropology and is leading the study.

"In order to measure changes in the tree canopy over time," said Zarger.

She says doing the study now will help generations in the future.

"They provide a lot of services in regards to shade, having a place for biodiversity to be fostered, birds, insects," said Zarger.

This year's study is a little different though. It includes a survey being sent out to residents.

"To understand how local residents and folks in neighborhoods all over the city, how they feel about trees…for example, where they would prefer to see trees," said Zarger.

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