News & Press

Protecting Our City’s Trees: Now Is the Time for Change

The first official draft of the new Tree Protection Ordinance (TPO) will be released in the weeks to come, followed by a final version in the following months. While the new TPO is being drafted, trees are at a high risk for removal throughout the city. 

We believe Atlanta can meet the needs for affordability and mobility for a rapidly growing population while protecting and growing our canopy to 50%. Updates to the Tree Protection Ordinance must be stronger than our current standards and result in improved, measurable outcomes.

A weak ordinance or inconsistent enforcement displaces the true cost of lost canopy as short-term profit for a few, while increasing long-term burdens for the many. Our city’s growth must honor and benefit the urban ecology of all of Atlanta’s diverse communities.

The City of Atlanta presented its first (v1.0) “draft outline” for the Tree Protection Ordinance (TPO) at public meetings on June 3 – 6, 2019. We understand that draft outline for Version 1.0 was presented to solicit public consideration, input, and discussion. The City recently updated its schedule to share its “draft text” of Version 1.0 to August. We appreciate the opportunity to provide input to shape the draft text. The below statements represent our key viewpoints, which you can learn about in more detail here.

  1. We support a goal of 50% canopy.
  2. No rollback of existing canopy protection.
  3. Define “High Value” trees.
  4. Arborist Review needs to be at the start of the building permit process.
  5. The next draft needs to include all the components of the Tree Protection Ordinance. 


Please submit your comments, ideas, and feedback for an improved TPO by July 17, as requested by the City of Atlanta. 
Here are a few ways you can help advocate for a Tree Protection Ordinance that better protects Atlanta’s urban forest for years to come:

Click here to download presentation slides from our previous talks on the Tree Protection Ordinance to learn more about our goals and strategies for protecting trees.

Now is the time for change. 

(Photo credits go to Curbed Atlanta and CBC)

3 responses to “Protecting Our City’s Trees: Now Is the Time for Change”

  1. Frank Dellaert says:

    The reason we moved from Dunwoody to our O4W street is because it was one of the only green pockets left in that area. I fully support development on that area but the loss of century old trees is tragic. We should do our utmost best as a community to make sure that developer profit is not at the cost of Atlanta’s key asset: trees. We are and want to stay the “city in the forest”.

  2. Cynthia Jeness says:

    Currently, my neighbors in Sherwood Forest frequently violate the tree ordinance when they tear down an existing house and build a new one. They would rather pay the fine and cut down the trees so that they can start fresh on the landscaping. Unless, the fines are raised significantly as part of a new tree ordinance, many home owners will continue to do their own thing.

  3. Denise Poh says:

    With the new research showing that a trillion more trees worldwide could make a difference in regard to climate change, Atlanta, AKA Tree City, should make a commitment to increase our tree canopy. Fruiting trees could also help to feed our vulnerable populations. As more buildings are planned in the city, their adding a park area with trees in their designs could help, too.

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