Tree ordinances are a necessary tool in preserving tree resources. In order to ensure prolonged support and effectiveness, the local community must be involved in the establishment of our urban forests. Therefore, it is important to note that community support is critical to ordinance effectiveness, but cannot be legislated into an ordinance. Rather, the community is better served when the ordinance is developed within the context of community values. Even the most well-written tree ordinances are apt to be ineffective without adequate public support.

For practical reasons, most tree ordinances rely heavily upon voluntary public involvement and compliance. Citizens are more willing to voluntarily comply with restrictions they perceive as reasonable, and report obvious violations to protect their tree resources when they are made to feel involved with the process. To be successful, tree ordinances should not impose regulations that most local citizens are unwilling to support.

There are specific provisions that are covered in ordinances that prove the need for such guidelines. Among these are the needs to:
• Designate administrative responsibilities;
• Develop a comprehensive management plan;
• Outline planting requirements;
• Resolve conflicts between trees and structures;
• Implement permits for activities that may damage city- or private-owned trees; and
• Conserve forest and woodland resources during development.

Planning an Ordinance
Types of Ordinances
Model Ordinance
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