How to Advocate for Trees

Every community should enjoy the benefits of a healthy urban forest.

We rely on members of the community to speak for the trees in their neighborhoods. Trees Atlanta offers a variety of ways you can be a tree advocate.

Canopy Conversations

Canopy Conversations are about informing concerned residents on the state of the canopy in the City of Atlanta and their own neighborhood. In a series of localized presentations in various neighborhoods, Trees Atlanta will be discussing canopy coverage, notable trees collections or specimens in their area (many enjoy being home to one or more Champion Trees), and offering resources and strategies for protecting and conserving the trees in their own neighborhoods.

Among our neighborhoods, canopy coverage ranges widely from a high of 83% in Butner-Tell to a low of 3% in Downtown. You might be surprised to find out where your neighborhood ranks. Trees Atlanta can schedule a community meeting with you to conduct a Canopy Conversation (info below). Meanwhile please explore the Tree Canopy data tool developed by Georgia Tech for Trees Atlanta, made possible by funding from the City of Atlanta and the Google Fund of Tides Foundation.

To request a Canopy Conversation for your neighborhood, please contact Judy Yi (please include your name, neighborhood, and phone number). We are glad to present to neighborhood associations and community groups upon request.

Tree Speaker

Do you have an upcoming meeting or event where you’d like someone to speak about trees and the work of Trees Atlanta? Complete this form to help Trees Atlanta fulfill your request. Please allow at least one month’s advance notice prior to the date of the event.

Understand Your Tree Ordinance

Tree protection ordinances play a huge role in the long term health and viability of a community’s tree canopy. A strong ordinance will:

  • protect existing trees and older “specimen” trees, not just require replanting to “replace” trees that are cut down.
  • plan for tree save areas at the earliest stages of the development process, not as an unfeasible afterthought. A tree plan should be submitted at the same time as the development plant.
  • require planting shade trees in parking lots and along streets where appropriate. Parking lots contribute greatly to the “heat island effect”, and should be planned with shade trees in the design to offset this problem. Street trees are also important, but large overstory trees, such as oaks and maples, should not be planted directly under power lines where they will not be allowed to achieve their shade or aesthetic potential.
  • protect trees from unnecessary damage during construction.
  • require sufficient amounts of replanting when trees must be cut down.
  • requires that trees along public streets be pruned in a healthy and aesthetic manner.
  • sets the goal of no net loss of trees over time in a given area.

Both cities and counties enforce Tree Protection Ordinances and these ordinances will vary within different jurisdictions. If you live in an unincorporated portion of the county, you will need to contact your County Commissioners. For more information about your local tree ordinance, visit your city’s website.