The Seattle Urban Forestry Commission is reviewing our tree protection ordinance and will be recommending chages needed to help increase our urban forest canopy to meet the 30% canopy cover adopted by the city. We are currently at about 23% canopy cover but are losing trees in our park areas due to invasive species like blackberry and ivy.  The biggest potential new tree cover is private property.  The city has actually mapped out potential areas for canopy growth. But a new ordinance and plan is necessary to effectively implement a policy to increase our tree canopy.

Here are links to some articles relevant to developing and strengthening our urban forest and tree protection laws that I found helpful:

Urban Tree Conservation: A White Paper on Local Ordinances
Sept 2007, Montgomery Tree Committee. 68 pages

This paper deals with”conservation of urban forests on private land” and is one of the best overviews I have found. It discusses and compares many different ordinances and approaches it from a holistic viewpoint, looking not just at trees but also biodiversity and ecosystem concerns.

Tree Ordinance Development Guidebook
Sept 2005 by the Georgia Forestry Commission, Urban and Community Forestry Program. 25 pages

This Guidebook is not very long but it has a good overview, including a Tree Board/Tree Ordinance Evaluation, and a Resource List.

Guideline for Developing and Evaluating Tree Ordinances
International Society of Arboriculture, Oct 2001. 181 pages a real compendium of information on tree ordinance issues

October 2010 update:

several other links also provide guidance in developing a tree ordinance.

http://www.scenic.org/tree/model_ordinance -
Scenic America – outlines key elements of a model tree protection ordinance

http://conservationtools.org/tools/general/show/37
Tree Ordinance – ConservationTools.org – a good 7 page overview

2 Responses to Urban Forest and Tree Protection Laws

  1. Sangeeta says:

    Trees die all the time,” because of the stressful environment they inhabit, Fahey said. The death of a tree or even an entire forest is not evidence enough of human activity inducing climate change.

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  2. Steve Zemke says:

    Your comment is rather simplistic. That's like saying when someone dies from cancer caused by exposure to toxic chemicals, because people die all the time, we shouldn't be concerned about toxic chemicals.
    I didn't even mention global warming in my article. But when anything dies it is good to check to see if is natural or man induced. In my opinion increased carbon dioxide is inducing significant changes in our climate and elsewhere in natural systems, like increased ocean acidification, which have serious long term consequences.

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