Tree Cover

The HCI Tree Cover indicator measures the amount of tree canopy within the neighborhood. Numerous positive health outcomes are related to increased tree coverage: trees absorb air pollution and release oxygen which has been shown to enhance respiratory health, reduce fatigue and increase productivity; they promote physical activity, lower stress, and help control weight. Tree also absorb and block sound, with the ability to reduce noise pollution by as much as 40 percent. Finally, tree cover reduces exposure to UV rays, the cause of sun burns and skin cancer, and lowers air temperatures. Listed under Natural Areas, tree cover also impacts economic health, health systems and public safety, housing, neighborhood characteristics, social cohesion, and environmental hazards. Data on Tree Cover is available from the U.S. Geological Survey’s (USGS) National Land Cover Dataset (NLCD).

Neighborhoodsort descending Indicator Value Rank
Blackstone 40.1% 1
Charles 20.1% 13
College Hill 30.0% 5
Downtown 6.6% 24
Elmhurst 26.3% 10
Elmwood 16.3% 15
Federal Hill 8.9% 23
Fox Point 10.7% 21
Hartford 24.5% 11
Hope 27.9% 7
Lower South Providence 9.2% 22
Manton 39.8% 2
Mount Hope 22.6% 12
Mount Pleasant 27.1% 8
Olneyville 16.6% 14
Reservoir 15.7% 17
Silver Lake 28.1% 6
Smith Hill 13.1% 19
South Elmwood 38.2% 3
Upper South Providence 10.9% 20
Valley 16.2% 16
Wanskuck 26.9% 9
Washington Park 5.9% 25
Wayland 31.7% 4
West End 15.4% 18

Key Citations:
1. Bowler DE, Buyung-Ali LM, Knight TM, Pullin AS. (2010) A systematic review of evidence for the added benefits to health of exposure to natural environments. BMC Public Health. 2010 Aug 4;10:456. Available at:
2. Grant RH, Heisler GM, Gao W. (2002) Estimation of pedestrian level UV exposure under trees. Photochem Photobiol. 2002 Apr; 75(4):369-76. Available at:
3. Nowak, D. (2002). The Effects of Urban Trees on Air Quality. United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service. Available at: