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.)
The Charlottesville Tree Commission provides an Annual Report to City Council (State of the Urban Forest FY2021).
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.
The City completes a Canopy Assessment approximately every 5 years, which is paid by in part by U.S. 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.
The 2022 study found that total canopy cover changed from 45% to 40% from 2014 to 2018 (381 acres) using the current city area. Private lands saw a 7% decrease, while canopy on public lands decreased by 3%.
The study analyzes and maps the data in several useful ways, including by neighborhood, by parcel, by public-vs-private land, and by right-of-way canopy. It includes a methodology for tree planting prioritization based on socio-demographic and environmental factors. Strategies for increasing the canopy are also provide.
Urban Forest Assessment
The City has also undertaken an Urban Forest Assessment of trees on public lands including:
- City buildings
- Street medians
The assessment helps identify the age, diversity, condition, and maintenance needs of the City’s trees and forested lands.