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Frequently Asked Questions

  • Where did the 20% Canopy estimate come from and who made the 30% commitment?
    In 2009 the city determined that the Canopy was 19% and set the goal of 30%. The 20% estimate was determined in 2018 by the Tacoma’s Urban Forestry workgroup, a team of consultants and residents who spent two years of extensive research, city interviews and community outreach to suggest policy recommendations, code changes, service upgrades and best practices. Subsequently, Tacoma’s Urban Forest Management Plan (UFMP), which includes the 30% goal by 2030, was adopted by the City Council in December of 2019.
  • What is Home in Tacoma and does it address our Tree Canopy?
    Home in Tacoma (HIT) is a major planning effort being undertaken by the City of Tacoma to increase housing density within the neighborhoods of Tacoma. Now in Stage 2, due to be reviewed and adopted by the City Council next spring, it includes a study yet to be completed regarding the preservation and extension of our tree canopy.
  • What is the Ordinance being proposed by the city’s Urban Forestry Department?
    The City’s Department of Urban Forestry has researched and developed recommendations for changes to the City Municipal Code that will require permits for the removal of trees on public property, which includes the parking strip Right of Way and City owned property.. These changes will include significant fines for violations. The proposal will be reviewed by the Infrastructure, Planning, and Sustainability Committee in September and subsequently submitted to the City Council for adoption.
  • What is meant by “established” trees?
    An “established” tree is any rare or endangered species with a trunk diameter greater than 2 inches, or any other tree with a diameter greater than 10 inches.
  • Why should I give up my personal right to remove a tree from my personal property?
    An established tree is an asset to your neighborhood, as well as to yourself. It helps clean the air, limit erosion and pollution, support wildlife, and offset rising temperatures in our city. It may also add to property values and increase the overall beauty of your neighborhood. If a tree is hazardous to people or endangering a building, it will be excluded from this protection.
  • What is a Landscape Architect and why does the city need such a person?
    A Landscape Architect is a professional who has been educated in all aspects of plants and trees with additional training on the best practices for designing landscapes that meet specific expectations. This knowledge is needed by the city to review projects for consistency with best practices, tree codes and project expectations.
  • What are Heritage and Champion Trees?
    A heritage tree is typically a large, individual tree with unique value, which is considered irreplaceable. The major criteria for heritage tree designation are age, rarity, and size, as well as aesthetic, botanical, ecological, and historical value. Champion Trees are designated on state and national registers because of their significant height and size.
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