Tree Advocacy

fot_board_member_nancy_buley__rep_earl_blumenauer_by_toshio_suzuki
photo: Toshio Suzuki

Friends of Trees is first and foremost a community building organization that helps bring people together to plant new trees and steward those young trees to become a valued part of our urban canopy. The scope of our mission limits the degree to which we are able to allocate resources to advocate for individual trees.

Decisions about planting and removing trees can be very complex and involve many governmental and non-governmental agencies. If you are working to engage in tree advocacy for retaining or removing a tree, the process can be confusing. Here are some answers to the initial questions you may have and some helpful resources. In addition, the Alliance for Community Trees provides a comprehensive overview of tree advocacy.

When advocating for a tree, first determine whether the tree is on public or private land.

A tree is scheduled to be cut down on public land. What can I do?

  • Determine why the tree is scheduled to be removed. Each city in our area has an office or staff member responsible for urban forestry. The links below can help you find information about your city.
  • Once you know why the tree is scheduled for removal, learn what processes, such as public hearings or comment periods, may be available to you. The purpose for the tree removal will help you find language in the tree code that speaks to your situation. You can find links to many city tree codes below.
  • Friends of Trees adheres to a strong “Right Tree, Right Place” policy for our plantings. However, it is important to realize that over time some trees may not have been planted in the right place. In some cases a tree must be removed for public safety.

A tree is scheduled to be cut down on private land. What can I do?

  • Trees on private property are primarily the responsibility of the property owner. However, depending on the size and location of the tree, some regulations may impact its removal. See the resource links below for clarification in your city.
  • As with trees on public property, the reason a tree is slated for removal can guide your course of action.
  • If objections to the tree are primarily related to its appearance or maintenance, it may be helpful to describe the benefits of trees to the property owner. The City of Vancouver provides a helpful pdf printable list of tree benefits.
  • If objections to the tree are due to a perceived property damage or safety issue, you may want to hire a professional arborist to assess the situation.
  • Regardless of the reason the property owner is removing the tree, stay positive and respectful to engage in productive negotiating.

Resources for Tree Advocacy in Area Cities