Tree Preservation Ordinance Templates

Tree Preservation Ordinance Templates


These templates, provided by the Chicago Regional Trees Initiative, provide a starting place for drafting rules for tree protection at a municipal level. Though much of the suggested language refers to street trees, or individual trees on private property, there are a few mentions of special conservation or preservation area that could apply to urban forested natural areas.  

The templates are arranged in a three-tiered structure (Bronze, Silver, and Gold), which allows your city to get engaged at the appropriate point, and provides opportunities to move to a higher level of ordinance as time and resources permit. The differences between the three tiers are described below:

Bronze

  1.  The Bronze Level Tree Preservation Ordinance is the foundation upon which the other tree preservation ordinances are based.  
  2. This basic ordinance assumes the community does not have an urban forest management plan.  
  3. The Bronze Level Tree Preservation Ordinance regulates trees on public property only - with the exception of potential risk trees. 
  4. This ordinance sets goals for the community to help it move to the Silver Level Tree Preservation Ordinance.


Silver

  1. The Silver Level Tree Preservation Ordinance is based on a community urban forest management plan.  
  2. The Silver Tree Preservation Ordinance regulates trees on public property only – with the exception of potential risk trees.
  3. The objective is to have the urban forest management plan provide the structure for the community forestry program.  
  4. The management plan can be updated and amended more easily than an ordinance so changes can be made as needed.  
  5. The Silver Level Tree Preservation Ordinance will reference back to the urban forest management plan as the foundation for the community urban forestry program.

 

Gold

  1. The Gold Level Tree Preservation Ordinance is based on a community urban forest management plan.
  2. This ordinance level regulates trees on public and private property.  Approximately 70% of the trees within a community are located on private property.   
  3. This ordinance preserves, protects and enhances the urban forest infrastructure as a whole.

In a nutshell, this resource offers:

  • Draft language for tree protection ordinances, relevant to public and private property.
  • Some examples of how to talk about urban forested natural areas as "conservation" or "preservation" areas, and rules that could help protect these areas.

How to use this resource:

  • Identify where your city fits in between the Bronze, Silver, and Gold tiers. 
  • Open and read the appropriate sample ordinance, keeping relevant suggestions, discarding suggestions that do not apply to your city, and filling the gaps of what is missing.

Author: Chicago Regional Trees Initiative

Point of contact: crti@mortonarb.org 

Resource is available online here.