More people than ever before now live in urban areas where the health of our tree population is under increasing pressure from drought, disease and development. Trees have well documented economic, environmental, and public health benefits. It is fiscally, socially, and environmentally sound for the City of Austin to develop a forest management plan.
Like other city infrastructure, tree planting and care must be part of maintenance and budget planning. A city that lacks adequate funding or planning for trees will not have an urban forest for long. The toll of recent heat and drought is still rising and, unfortunately, it sometimes takes significant tree loss for a community to realize just how much they value trees.
Following on the heels of Great Austin Park’s successful campaign to increase funding to the Parks and Recreation Department and a host of other public urban forest plans recently featured by Alliance for Community Trees, the City of Austin has released a draft Comprehensive Urban Forest Plan entitled, Austin’s Urban Forest Plan: A Master Plan for Public Property. The City of Austin’s Urban Forester and the Urban Forestry Board have been working on the plan for nearly 36 months and have received more than 2,100 public comments. The fruit of their labor is timely, with increased funding for forestry maintenance on public land and an increased awareness about the value of trees since record breaking tree loss in 2011, this document provides a thirty thousand foot view to guide public urban forest policy across City departments.
Please review Austin’s Urban Forest Plan and provide comments, letters of support, or suggestions for improvement to the:
Remember that the City’s plan is intended to guide resources to maximize the benefit of trees on public land which includes trees along the Right of Way and in public spaces. The majority of land ownership is private and it takes conscientious stewards, like you, to plant and care for many more trees across Central Texas.