We Agree: It Shouldn’t Be This Easy to Cut Down Healthy Trees in Atlanta

Photo by Maria Saporta

We agree: it SHOULD NOT be this easy to cut down healthy trees in Atlanta. There is hope: the effort to rewrite the City of Atlanta Tree Protection Ordinance is still actively underway. We encourage you to share your points of view with the City Council. They will ultimately shape and vote on what changes will be introduced to our new Tree Protection Ordinance. The final draft is scheduled to be up for a vote by spring* of this year.

Real-life examples like those described in this article can be useful case studies, and they demonstrate how healthy trees are at risk.

Among Trees Atlanta’s several recommendations for the ordinance rewrite is to revise the fees and fines for removal of trees and return the oversight for trees on public land, as well as private land, under a single office (Arborist Division). Recompense fees were intended to be deterrents, but they are largely paid as transaction fees. We believe development projects should plan around existing trees whenever possible, rather than tree removal being the easiest solution and merely the cost of doing business.


Photo by Maria Saporta

Trees Atlanta strongly advocates for better tree protection in Atlanta and municipalities throughout Metro Atlanta. When trees are removed from our communities, the true environmental cost is displaced to you and me. Fewer trees in the city means greater burdens on stormwater control, watershed protection, heat management, and air quality impacts, to name just a few “city services” that trees naturally provide. City leaders, nationally and internationally, are shifting their attention to trees as important city assets and recognizing their role in fighting climate change. World-class cities are funding tree planting and protection plans as part of their growth and sustainability strategies. The City of Atlanta’s efforts to develop an Urban Ecology Framework, of which tree protection is a major focus, shows our city’s leadership to ensure the health and well-being of our city long in to the future.

To read more about Trees Atlanta’s recommendations for the Tree Protection Ordinance rewrite, please view our document here.

*UPDATE: A new schedule of the rewrite process has been posted to the City of Atlanta website. The final rewrite is expected by August 2020. View update and new schedule here.


Written by Judy Yi