InVEST methods for modeling nature based cooling from street trees

We are using InVEST to model baseline scenarios and designed changed for a proposed linear urban forest. My question is how to model projected interventions (street trees, or linear urban forest implementation) which are not yet reflected in the LULC maps being used. Additionally, the linear forest would take up a portion (12%, 28%, 40%) of the existing roads as it grows and expands canopies. Is this type of intervention possible to model and extract numerical results with InVEST–and if so, how?

Thank you as always for your clear and helpful responses.

Hi @lptomasso -

The first thing that comes to mind is to create a new LULC class for the linear urban forest, and assign the appropriate pixels to it in the LULC raster to make a new scenario map to run through the model. If you want to analyze the change over time, you’d need to make multiple scenarios, perhaps one for each few years of tree growth (where, for example, the shade parameter would change with each scenario).

Thinking about the shading of nearby roads… Again, I’d suggest trying to make a new LULC class for “roads shaded by linear urban forest”, that correspond with road pixels adjacent to the new linear forest. The shade parameter for this LULC class would also change over time, as the linear forest grows. That way, you’d retain the Kc and albedo values for roads, and get the benefit of the shading parameter.

That said, I have not used this model much, so if others have additional ideas, please share them!

~ Stacie


Hi Stacie,

Your reply to my question is typically clear and informative. It sounds like we can manipulate the streets as new lulc classes no problem.

I also have a related question as to how to interpret current model output. Urban cooling models are generating adobe files, which are not opening at all. Sample DBF file with modeling parameters is attached. I don’t know how to read this, or better yet, how to export into a csv or excel file. Could you kindly advise? Sorry again for so many questions!


Thank you,

Hi Linda -

The model creates outputs in two geospatial formats: TIFF (raster) and shapefile (vector). Both are intended for use in GIS software like QGIS or ArcGIS. It is possible to import the .dbf file that is part of a shapefile into spreadsheet software like Excel, so you could see the vector tabular results (UHI and buildings) that way. But if you want to see maps of the results, you’ll need to use GIS software.

~ Stacie

opened tif file.txt (1.9 KB)

Hi Stacie,

Thanks for this quick reply. I have loaded both files onto ArcGIS. The attachments show 1) the TIFF file and b) the mono-colored UHI file that accompany my output. Do these look correct to you? Thanks for any insights here. This is the first time I am using the Cooling model, and I’m finding it much more confusing than prior modules.

When you bring a TIFF file into ArcGIS, you should see a map. It’s definitely not intended to be viewed as text.

The UHI output looks fine, it’s actually a pretty boring-looking output since it’s just the area of interest polygon that you supplied. But if you look at the attribute table, you should see fields with values as described in the User Guide.

~ Stacie