Urban Canopy Reports

The City of Charlottesville has made strong commitments to natural resource management through its adoption of:

  • The 1998 Sustainability Accords
  • The 2003 Environmental Sustainability Policy
  • The Comprehensive Plan
  • The pursuit of a City-wide Environmental Management System
  • The U.S. Conference of Mayors Climate Protection Agreement (Which specifically identifies the maintenance of healthy urban forests as effective supporting action.)

Strategies

In response to public requests pertaining to the protection and management of urban trees and the urban tree canopy; representatives from the Parks and Recreation Department, the Department of Neighborhood Development Services, and the Environmental Sustainability Office in Public Works have been developing strategies that will enable the City to better protect our natural resources.

Canopy Assessment

The City completes a Canopy Assessment approximately every 5 years, which is paid by in part by United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Forestry grants. These efforts are designed to place the City in a position to manage its forests and trees in a sustainable and renewable manner, and provide for a codified program that meets the needs and values of our community.

Since 2004 to 2014, the citywide canopy has decreased by 5 to 7.5% (350 to 500 acres of tree canopy removed). In 2009 the City had a 47% overall tree canopy. By 2014 the canopy had been reduced to 45% overall (2015 Council Presentation (PDF)).

Urban Forest Assessment

The City has also undertaken an Urban Forest Assessment of trees on public lands including:

  • Cemeteries
  • City buildings
  • Parks
  • Schools
  • Street medians

The assessment helps identify the age, diversity, condition, and maintenance needs of the City’s trees and forested lands.