Protecting the Urban Forest Through Tree Preservation and Land Development Regulations in Austin, Texas

Protecting the Urban Forest Through Tree Preservation and Land Development Regulations in Austin, Texas


The City of Austin has some of the most progressive urban forest and environmental land development regulations in the country. The City directly protects trees and forested natural areas through tree preservation ordinances and indirectly through development restrictions on impervious cover, endangered species habitat, and limiting development in environmentally sensitive areas. This case study describes the suite of regulations that has contributed to an overall canopy coverage of 37%, with much of that canopy preserved in perpetuity, despite Austin being one of the fastest growing cities in the country.

In a nutshell, this resource offers:

  • Examples of community-driven regulations that protect heritage trees, with an outsized impact on urban forested natural areas containing multiple large trees.
  • Land development codes that balances building needs and environmental/tree protections.
  • Conservation easements used as a municipal tool for urban forested natural area protection.

How to use this resource:

  • As a big-picture guide to developing ordinances and regulations from multiple agencies that protect trees and forests in a city.

Author: Keith Mars

Date published: 2020

Point of contact: Keith Mars, Community Tree Preservation Division Manager, City of Austin Development Services Department, keith.mars@austintexas.gov 

Citation: Mars, K. W. 2020. Outcome Oriented Policy: Protecting the Urban Forest Through Tree Preservation and Complementary Land Development Regulations in Austin, Texas. Cities and the Environment (CATE): Vol. 13: Iss. 1, Article 21.

Resource is available online here.

 

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