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Canopy Cover

Canopy Cover Assessment

Canopy cover is defined as the surface area (usually in m² or as a percentage) of a trees stem, branches and leaves that cover the ground when viewed from above. The greater the canopy cover, the greater the benefits provided by trees.

Tool for planning & development projects 

The use of canopy cover assessments is fast becoming a fundamental element of planning policy with many councils now require new developments to attain minimum canopy cover amounts depending on the size and location of the development.

We have developed a system that can be used to provide calculations of existing (pre-development), immediately after (post-development) and future forecasts for canopy cover on a site. The system we have developed can project how the canopy cover of existing and newly planted trees will change over time depending on species, age and environment.


The purpose of the assessment is to be able to demonstrate how canopy cover will be impacted by development proposals and allow design teams to make informed decisions around new tree planting to ensure a net gain increase in canopy cover is secured on the site.

Wirral i-Tree ECO project on behalf of Forest Research for Wirral Borough Council 2022 

Stormont Estate, Belfast (Belfast i-Tree ECO project on behalf of Forest Research for Belfast City Council 2021

Tool for urban forestry management

Canopy cover assessment is used as tool for urban forest management, and many councils are undertaking studies to help understand, manage and plan canopy cover across their area.


In 2021, we undertook an i-Tree ECO survey for Forest Research and Belfast City Council - the first of its kind in Ireland.

The aim of the project was to:

  • Assess the structure and composition of Belfast city's trees

  • Calculate the amount and value of benefits provided by trees in Belfast

  • Investigate the resilience and sustainability of Belfast's urban forest

  • Collect and analyse data that helps to inform Belfast's tree strategy and the planting of one million trees by 2035

You can read about the project here:

The results will be used to help inform initiatives such as Belfast City Councils 'One Million Trees' Project, which aims to plant 1,000,000 trees across the city by 2035.

In 2022, we undertook an i-Tree ECO survey for Forest Research and Wirral Borough Council. You can read about the project here:

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