Canopy cover [Crown cover]

n. The fraction of ground area covered by the vertical projection of tree crown perimeters.


  • Discussion


Canopy cover is commonly expressed as a percentage of total ground area; for example, at 50 percent canopy cover, half of the total ground area is covered by the vertical projection of tree crowns.


Unless otherwise specified, canopy cover refers to non-overlapping canopy cover. Two overlapping crowns are not counted twice, so the theoretical maximum attainable canopy cover value is 100 percent. Values of overlapping canopy cover, used in ecological applications, can exceed 100 percent.




Canopy cover is not synonymous with canopy closure, which is a point measure of canopy coverage.


  • Units


    Canopy cover is most commonly expressed as a percent of ground area, but may in some papers be expressed as a fraction. Multiply the canopy cover fraction by 100 to express it as a percent.


  • See Also

  • Notes

    • Author 

      Joe Scott, Research Forester

      Systems for Environmental Management