Like LiDAR in wildlands, one of the data components offered is geography, and sometimes it can show an unhappy truth. In many American urban centers, while there may be a great many trees, greenspace, and all of the environmental services they provide, the trees are not necessarily geographically distributed around the city equally. This means that some communities within our cities are deprived of the essential services trees play. Lack of access to greenspace and lower concentration of urban canopy tends to intersect with low income communities already facing many incredibly difficult challenges. More urban canopy means cleaner air, cooler temperatures, cleaner water, and a more beautiful community.
At American Forests, our Community ReLeaf program is focused not just on growing our urban forests, but growing them in an equitable manner that justly provides the services of trees to all people. Environmental justice and social justice are inextricably linked. At the intersection of technology, environmental justice and social justice is tree equity. LiDAR mapping will allow for expansion of our urban forests while more equally spreading their services, growing a better future.