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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.

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

The City of Cambridge, MA asks its residents to help water trees during the hot summer months. 


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


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


The Tree City USA Program from the Arbor Day Foundation provides communities with a four-step framework to maintain and grow their tree cover. It also gives them an avenue to celebrate their work, showing residents, visitors, and the entire country that they’re committed to the mission of environmental change.


The City of Tacoma Park, MD has a strict tree protection policy. Before conducting any project within 50 feet of an Urban Forest Tree, residents must familiarize themselves with the City’s tree protection process. 

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.

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.).

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