Austin's Urban Forestry Board is currently engaging the community to develop Austin’s first comprehensive Urban Forest Plan. This plan will help shape and protect the future of Austin’s urban forest. The Board needs your help in determining the priorities and needs of Austin’s Urban Forest, so SpeakUp! now and share your thoughts on these topics!
Austin's Urban Forest Plan
There is sometimes confusion when it comes to what qualifies as an Urban Forest. Is it trees, vegetation, one or the other, or both? Is it public or private? Where is the Urban Forest? Please define for us what you think makes up the Urban Forest.
Austin has been ranked in the Top 10 Cities in the Country for its urban forest by American Forests. Additionally, according to American Forests, Austin’s tree canopy is at 30% of the City, with over 100 different species of trees and around 300,000 individual trees in parks and along streets. What do you think of the state of Austin’s Urban Forest? Is there anything missing that you believe needs attention?
There are a lot of different factors that come into play when considering management of the urban forest. Maintenance, expansion, preservation, removal of dangerous or dead trees and vegetation and responsibilities of the different involved players are just some of those factors. What should the City of Austin try to prioritize in the Urban Forest Plan? These prioritizations should be things that you believe are critically important for the Urban Forest and should be initiated before anything else.
One of the most difficult things that urban forest management must overcome is funding shortages. It costs quite a bit to keep Austin’s Urban Forest healthy, safe and thriving. Based on a 2010 bench-marking survey of 23 large US cities, Austin spends $9.66 per tree compared with the national average of $39.33. What is your initial reaction to this statistic? Should the City of Austin do more to fund this urban forest management? Would you be willing to pay a small “tree fee” on your utility bills to help Austin’s Urban Forest?* *This is not a formal vote on any City of Austin tax.