The association between tree canopy cover and socio-demographics in Lubbock, Texas

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This study investigates the relationship between tree canopy cover and class, race and ethnicity in Lubbock, Texas in the year 2010. The primary goal of this research is to assess tenets of the environmental equity hypothesis —whites and people with relatively higher incomes have greater tree cover densities than minorities and people of relatively modest means. I seek to contribute to the environmental equity knowledge base via the following innovations: 1) the use of high resolution imagery (> 1 meter) to capture tree canopy data; 2) the use of larger scale census geography: block groups; and 3) extending previous methodological approaches in equity research to a semi-arid environment. The study’s findings support the environmental equity hypothesis. They indicate that a significantly lower percentage of tree canopy can be found in block groups containing higher percentages of Hispanics, and in particular areas that have higher percentages of Hispanics living in older neighborhoods. These findings suggest that the environmental equity hypothesis is relevant in the understanding of tree canopy distributions.

Tree cover, Lubbock (Tex.), Socio-demographics, Block groups, High resolution imagery