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 (Download the full Trees Atlanta Response to the Draft Outline).

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

The original comment period is closed, however, we encourage you to continue to write to your Councilmember and submit input to the project team. 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:

Now is the time for change.