There’s no faster way to having large, healthy and mature trees in a neighborhood, than by preserving the ones that are currently there. While it is not always feasible or appropriate to preserve a tree, considering the existing trees in the beginning of the planning process is an opportunity to immediately add defining features to the neighborhood. Including existing trees helps preserve the habitat for local wildlife and supports an ecological diversity of birds, butterflies, and other species for residents to enjoy as they connect with nature on their property. Trees on the site, but outside the developed area, provide an option to create parks and open space for recreation, family outings, and a refuge from lives everyday stresses. These are valuable neighborhood assets that you don’t have to pay for, but they must be protected and preserved in order to capitalize on its full value. That’s why the first step of the Green Neighborhood certification process is to encourage the meaningful inclusion and preservation of existing trees on site plans.
Goals for Site Review
- Existing healthy trees inside the development footprint are preserved and included in the neighborhood plan when feasible and appropriate.
- Existing healthy trees outside the footprint of the new development are preserved and protected when appropriate.
- Mitigation of removed tree canopy will result in more canopy gained than lost through tree removal after 25 years.
Core Elements of Site Review
- A site map of existing trees that will be preserved including the following tree information: Location, Species, Trunk Diameter at Standard Height (4.5ft), Height, Canopy Spread, Health condition
- An implementation plan for tree protection during construction is consistent with International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) and American National Standards Institute (ANSI) A300 standards.
- A qualified ISA Certified arborist contracted to monitor trees during construction.
- Mitigation of removed existing trees adheres to the requirements of the local jurisdiction.
- The highest percentage of trees as possible are preserved on site that are in good condition.
Elements for Gold
- Healthy existing trees are incorporated as project assets in designing the neighborhood.
- A report completed by an ISA Certified Arborist that discusses the condition of the trees in the site inventory and provides further recommendations for what trees are suitable for preservation.
- Site plan preserves existing trees in creating a park, open space, and recreation areas.
- Become enrolled in the Sacramento Municipal Utility District Neighborhood SolarShares or similar program.
- Mitigation of removed existing trees exceeds the requirements of the local jurisdiction by 10% or more.