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Access Type

Open Access Thesis

Document Type


Degree Program

Environmental Conservation

Degree Type

Master of Science (M.S.)

Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded



Trees in a community provide numerous benefits, including reducing ambient temperature, removing gaseous and particulate pollutants from the air, sequestering atmospheric carbon, and improving stormwater retention and filtration. However, trees also pose risks, especially in proximity to overhead utility lines. Trees near utility lines cause a large proportion of electrical power outages. As such, trees must be frequently and often severely pruned away from lines to minimize this risk. Presumably, community trees not growing near overhead utility lines are not pruned as frequently or severely. The objectives of this study are to (i) assess factors related to both individual trees and the sample populations of trees growing near and away from overhead utility lines, and (ii) determine whether those factors differed between the two groups. From May through September 2020, I sampled 200 utility easement plots and 200 non-utility plots in Eversource Energy’s distribution territories, measuring 2361 trees. I measured diameter at breast height (DBH), crown height and spread, percent crown missing, percent twig dieback, and likelihood of failure. Using this field collected data, I conducted an i-Tree Eco assessment to evaluate the contribution ecosystem services delivered by trees at each sampling site.


First Advisor

Brian Kane

Second Advisor

David Bloniarz