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:
- The Bronze Level Tree Preservation Ordinance is the foundation upon which the other tree preservation ordinances are based.
- This basic ordinance assumes the community does not have an urban forest management plan.
- The Bronze Level Tree Preservation Ordinance regulates trees on public property only - with the exception of potential risk trees.
- This ordinance sets goals for the community to help it move to the Silver Level Tree Preservation Ordinance.
- The Silver Level Tree Preservation Ordinance is based on a community urban forest management plan.
- The Silver Tree Preservation Ordinance regulates trees on public property only – with the exception of potential risk trees.
- The objective is to have the urban forest management plan provide the structure for the community forestry program.
- The management plan can be updated and amended more easily than an ordinance so changes can be made as needed.
- The Silver Level Tree Preservation Ordinance will reference back to the urban forest management plan as the foundation for the community urban forestry program.
- The Gold Level Tree Preservation Ordinance is based on a community urban forest management plan.
- This ordinance level regulates trees on public and private property. Approximately 70% of the trees within a community are located on private property.
- 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: email@example.com