There are 59 municipalities, villages, and townships in Cuyahoga County. The City of Cleveland comprises about 17% of the County’s total land area and is surrounded by approximately two dozen highly urbanized inner-ring communities.

Outer-ring communities in Cuyahoga County feature less dense development patterns. The Cleveland Metroparks system is extensive (18,649 acres in Cuyahoga County) and touches many communities throughout Cuyahoga County. Other significant park acreage is held by the Cuyahoga Valley National Park (2,800 acres), numerous local parks, and other conservation land.

The Ohio Constitution gives tremendous local control to its communities through “home rule”, a provision which authorizes Ohio communities to govern themselves through local laws. Thus, communities in Ohio can establish policies for land use and development and protect the natural environment through local statutes. This provision in the Ohio Constitution recognizes that a community best knows how to serve its needs.

Community-level metrics for tree canopy are important because they serve as a realistic basis for a community to develop goals, policies, and possibly legislation for the management of trees.

Existing & Possible Tree Canopy

Geography, development, and community standards can all impact tree canopy in individual communities. As a result, the existing tree canopy in Cuyahoga County is not evenly distributed. Viewing the bar chart and the map below, one can see that half (30) of the communities in Cuyahoga County have less than the County average of 34.7% for Existing Tree Canopy. The tree canopy in Cleveland, measured at 17.9%, is well below the County average. Several inner-ring suburban communities exceed the county average for tree canopy including Bedford, Cleveland Heights, Fairview Park, Shaker Heights and South Euclid. Except for Bratenahl, nearly all the leading Tree Canopy communities are located in outlying suburbs. The cities of Brook Park, North Randall and Warrensville Heights have an average tree canopy below that of Cleveland.

A community’s “Possible Tree Canopy” measurement provides an indication of available land for tree planting. Again, viewing the bar chart below, one can see the extent of suitable non-tree canopy land, including “Possible-Vegetated” (light green) and “Possible-Impervious” (light red). The map below shows the Percent of ‘Possible’ land for each community where trees do not currently exist.

Existing Tree Canopy

Possible Tree Canopy

Components of Tree Canopy

Change, 2011-2017

No Cuyahoga County communities showed a substantial gain in tree canopy. Only two communities (Euclid and Cuyahoga Heights) showed minor gains of about 2.5%. Additional study would be needed to determine what specific factors contributed to these changes.

Many communities showed a decline in Tree Canopy from 2011 to 2017, with nine losing more than 10% of their canopy. Six of those were the inner ring suburbs of Berea, Bratenahl, Cleveland Heights, Lakewood, Shaker Heights and University Heights.

The City of Cleveland lost nearly 5% of its 2011 tree canopy area, from 18.8% to 17.9% canopy. Despite gaining over 1,200 acres of new canopy, Cleveland also lost over 1,600 acres of canopy from 2011 to 2017.

Change by Community

Tree Canopy Data by Community

Existing Tree CanopyPossible Planting Area (Vegetated)Possible Planting Area (Impervious)Not SuitableChange
Bay Village2,8771,29245%85730%2699%45916%-113-8%
Bedford Heights2,91062722%1,08137%57820%62421%-41-6%
Broadview Heights8,2913,38441%3,21939%83010%85810%-267-7%
Brook Park4,85780817%1,69335%1,19725%1,15924%-71-8%
Brooklyn Heights1,14228125%39635%23621%22820%31%
Chagrin Falls1,34574455%35226%967%15411%-11-1%
Chagrin Falls Township31321970%8126%52%83%-21-9%
Cleveland Heights5,1551,95138%1,29225%83816%1,07421%-300-13%
Cuyahoga Heights1,99041721%62832%54427%40120%103%
East Cleveland1,97761831%51126%37319%47524%-45-7%
Fairview Park2,9761,17940%93932%35112%50717%-111-9%
Garfield Heights4,61597221%1,61035%1,10424%92920%-47-5%
Gates Mills5,7143,99670%1,36824%1432%2084%-210-5%
Highland Heights3,26389427%1,43244%42813%51016%-74-8%
Highland Hills1,26632926%71356%12210%1028%10%
Hunting Valley4,4303,00468%1,23528%962%942%-42-1%
Maple Heights3,30971822%1,06332%77623%75223%-31-4%
Mayfield Heights2,66949318%94836%60223%62723%-58-10%
Middleburg Heights5,1121,53430%1,87237%90618%80116%-149-9%
Moreland Hills4,5922,91964%1,25027%2014%2225%-258-8%
Newburgh Heights3757219%12734%9626%8021%-4-5%
North Olmsted7,4593,01940%2,37232%89712%1,17216%-114-4%
North Randall4994810%14028%21844%9219%-2-5%
North Royalton13,5945,86943%5,26239%1,2179%1,2469%-553-9%
Olmsted Falls2,5801,13944%86233%2409%33913%-26-2%
Olmsted Township6,1162,50941%2,63543%4187%5549%-10%
Parma Heights2,68775528%89233%49819%54220%-78-9%
Pepper Pike4,5691,93442%1,80540%3878%44110%-257-12%
Richmond Heights2,82399435%1,07838%34912%40114%-33-3%
Rocky River2,99292431%91831%46015%68923%-47-5%
Seven Hills3,13899432%1,28841%36912%48716%-96-9%
Shaker Heights4,0201,43736%1,21030%59815%77519%-183-11%
South Euclid2,9731,05135%83228%51717%57319%-110-10%
University Heights1,16630126%31227%25422%29926%-37-11%
Valley View3,5061,37639%1,25336%57716%3009%-25-2%
Walton Hills4,3542,38055%1,35331%3267%2957%-138-5%
Warrensville Heights2,63546718%93035%61723%62224%-29-6%
Cuyahoga County291,301101,09135%95,99933%45,20816%49,00317%-6,598-2%