Arlington County’s tree canopy is highly valued by both the citizens and County staff. Several studies have been performed on our urban tree canopy (UTC) using satellite imagery to locate the trees in our community. Forty-three percent of UTC was found in Arlington’s 2008 assessment of tree canopy cover, excluding U.S. Department of Defense lands.
In the 2011 assessment of tree canopy cover conducted by Casey Trees and the University of Vermont, Arlington tree canopy cover has decreased to approximately 40 percent. There are several projects in place to help combat this loss.
A large map of this analysis can be found here:
To find out the change in canopy in your civic association over this time period, you can consult this map:
Each year 600-700 public trees are removed due to storm damage, invasive species, disease, drought, and a variety of other factors. A large contributor to canopy loss is on private property due to development, poor tree maintenance, and storms. The environmental group Arlington Tree Canopy Fund, works with private properties to help increase canopy size. The County plants trees on public property, such as parks, street right of ways, and around public buildings. Arlington Public Schools work with the County and nonprofit organizations to increase and replant trees on some of their grounds.
Arlington county has an Urban Forest Masterplan, enacted in 2004, which is about to be rewritten by Parks staff. Information will be disseminated about how to provide input to improve the management of our tree canopy.