Discovering Urbanism: When is an urban forest large enough?
In the 2007 Comprehensive Plan, the City of Charlottesville set for itself the ambitious goal of creating a 40% tree canopy. At least it seemed ambitious at the time. After performing an analysis of aerial photos this year, city officials realized that 46% of the area is actually already covered by trees. In response, a new Urban Forest Management Plan has been drafted that calls for yet more trees. City Council has reviewed the plan, and everyone who spoke wholeheartedly endorsed making this a reality.
The plan recommends several methods for increasing the scale of natural forest land within city limits, including protecting forested parkland and/or forested private lawns in perpetuity with conservation easements, increasing the tree planting requirements for all new development, and acquiring more public land to be converted into green space. To clarify, we're talking specifically about the 10 square miles within the limits of the City of Charlottesville."