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'City Of Trees' At A Tipping Point

Flickr / Desiree Kane

Monday, April 17, 2017

Charlotte, known as "the city of trees," is losing its green giants. Development and the age of our trees are the two biggest problems. Mike Collins gets to the root of the issue with the city's chief arborist and others.

Charlotte's signature tree canopy is on track to shrink, according to a new report. Six years ago, the city set a goal of having trees cover half of the city by 2050. But the report, presented this month to the City Council's environment committee, forecast the canopy would decline to 41 percent in that period.

One dire prediction stood out in the report: tree-lined Myers Park could lose 57 percent of the signature trees towering over its streets.

The city's development boom, and the age of the city's trees were labeled the prime culprits for the looming decline. Also, the city spends far less on tree maintenance than the national average, and the number of new city-planted trees has plummeted.

Charlotte's chief arborist, Tim Porter, said an "all-hands-on-deck" approach is needed. The city and private dollars would help, he said, but the community has to roll up its sleeves, too.

What's in the city's tool kit for shoring up these leafy assets? Is more money the solution? Is the city's tree ordinance strong enough to face the development boom?


Tim Porter, chief arborist, City of Charlotte

Erin Oliverio, tree canopy manager, City of Charlotte

Dave Cable, director of philanthropy and special projects, TreesCharlotte (@TreesCharlotte)