Tree Protection & Planting

Trees bring both economic and environmental benefits to communities. They provide shade, habitat for wildlife, and help reduce noise and visual pollution. Trees add value to neighborhoods, mitigate runoff and erosion, and help reduce global warming by removing carbon dioxide from the air.

New construction, especially development of virgin land, often leads to the loss of and damage to trees during the construction process. A strong and vigorously enforced municipal tree protection policy is essential for every green community.


Another concern for municipalities is tree damage during storms. Many communities have developed relationships with commercial sawmills or other companies that have use for logs, allowing them to recycle or sell tree removals. This recycling strategy can turn a cost-burden scenario into an income-generating opportunity.

​Beaverton, OR describes many goals in its comprehensive Tree Planting and Maintenance Policy.


San Jose, CA has a thorough Tree Policy Manual & Recommended Best Practices.


The Vermont Urban & Community Forestry Program provides information on the importance of tree polices and a “Guide to Tree Ordinances for Vermont Municipalities.”


The Fairfax County, VA Tree Commission has an created extensive Tree Action Plan.


It's hard to beat MillionTreesNYC for raising the bar and showing how it's done. This amazing project, the brainchild of former NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg, resulted in the planting and care of more than 1,000,000 trees in and around New York City. Visit the website for details on how to plant and care for trees. 


The International Society of Arboriculture provides guidelines for developing and evaluating tree ordinances.

The Tree Tenders program of the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society is one of the oldest, most respected volunteer urban tree planting and stewardship programs in the world. Their Handbook is a well-written and comprehensive guide to selecting and caring for street trees in urban and suburban areas.

The Community Tree Preservation Task Force of the Minnesota Shade Tree Advisory Committee has written a Guide to Developing a Community Tree Preservation Ordinance. The mission of the task force is to preserve existing trees during development.

The US Forest Service has an Urban and Community Forestry Program that provides technical, financial, educational and research services to states, cities, and non-profit groups.

View a sample tree protection and planting policy.

Download and print our advocacy flyer on Trees.


[1] Escobedo, F. J., et al. (2011). Urban forests and pollution mitigation: Analyzing ecosystem services and disservices. Environmental Pollution, 159(8-9), 2078-2087. 

[2] Jose, S. (2009). Agroforestry for ecosystem services and environmental benefits: An overview. Advances in Agroforestry, 1-10. 

[3] Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (2018) Construction Damage and Remedies.

[4] Galenieks, A. (2017). Importance of urban street tree policies: A Comparison of neighbouring Southern California cities. Urban Forestry & Urban Greening, 22, 105-110. 

[5] ​[5] United States Department of Agriculture: Forest Service Northeast Center for Urban and Community Forestry, University of Massachusetts, Amherst & Davey Resource Group (2001) An Initial Storm Damage Assessment Protocol for Urban and Community Forests.

[6] Cesa, E. T., et al. (2003, August). RECYCLING MUNICIPAL TREES A Guide for Marketing Sawlogs from Street Tree Removals in Municipalities (Rep.).