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Auckland’s urban forest canopy cover: state and change (2013-2016/2018)

Nancy Golubiewski, Grant Lawrence, Joe Zhao, Craig Bishop
Auckland Council Research and Evaluation Unit, RIMU
Publication date:  


This technical report has been temporarily removed from Knowledge Auckland to update the methods used for analysis. The updated report (a new edition of TR2020/009) is expected to be published in late February 2021. Apologies for the inconvenience. If you have any questions relating to this report, please contact Grant Lawrence:

January 2021


The structure and function of Auckland’s forests are important to the region for both the ecosystem services they provide and their intrinsic value. In recent years, a building boom resulting from economic growth and housing demand has resulted in land-use change that includes noticeable tree removals, especially in urban areas where development activities are both intensifying and expanding the built environment. Across Auckland, urban areas expanded eight per cent between 1996 and 2012 and a further four per cent between 2012 and 2018/19.

This project quantified the extent of tree canopy cover across 16 local boards in the central and mostly urban part of the Auckland region: Papakura, Manurewa, Ōtara-Papatoetoe, Māngere-Ōtāhuhu, Howick, Maungakiekie-Tāmaki, Ōrākei, Waitematā, Albert-Eden, Puketāpapa, Whau, Henderson-Massey, Upper Harbour, Kaipātiki, Devonport-Takapuna, and Hibiscus and Bays. Data collected between 2016 and 2018 were assessed and analysed to identify the characteristics of the canopy in this period and to detect any changes that have occurred since 2013. A canopy height model was produced from Auckland Council’s 2016/18 LiDAR data to serve as a comparable tree canopy cover to the 2013 one. ...

This report on the tree canopy presents early findings of the first comprehensive, regional assessment of Auckland’s urban forests and its change over a three to five-year period. It provides an overall assessment, from which more detailed studies can build in the future.

Auckland Council technical report, TR2020/009

July 2020