Climate Resilient Land Use: Tree Regulations

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Climate Resilient Land Use: Tree Regulations

Tree Protection Regulations

See also: Tree Protection in Wetlands Regulations

Trees play a critical role in climate resilience by mitigating heat and absorbing stormwater. According to the EPA, suburban areas with mature trees are four to six degrees cooler than new suburbs without trees, and shaded surfaces can be 25 to 40 degrees cooler than the peak temperatures of unshaded surfaces. Trees also absorb remarkable quantities of precipitation.

A report by the Center for Urban Forest Research found that New York City streets trees intercept an average of 1,432 gallon of stormwater per year, reducing stormwater runoff by nearly 900 million gallons annually.

This page provides short summaries of key features of regulations based on desktop review. Links to the regulations are provided below. Conduct careful review when considering adopting new language. The resources included do not constitute legal advice. Municipalities should consult legal counsel when adopting new bylaws, ordinances, and policies.

Did we miss something? Do you have regulations or policies that should be added to this website? Do you need assistance? For additions, corrections, or questions please contact Senior Environmental Planner Anne Herbst at

Strategies to Strengthen Tree Protections

Protect and Preserve Trees
  • The Town of Arlington Tree Protection and Preservation bylaw (16) applies to demolition or construction of residential and non-residential structures, and construction which increases an existing structure footprint by 50% or more. Protected trees are existing healthy trees in setback areas with a DBH of 8” or more. Removal of protected trees requires written approval. Removal of a protected tree requires payment into a town Tree Fund.
  • The Town of Concord Tree Preservation bylaw applies in residential districts to new construction, increases in gross floor area by 50% or greater, and demolition of structures 250 gross square feet or greater. Protected trees are existing trees in setback areas with a DBH of six feet or more. Removal of protected trees during construction or in the 12 months prior to application for a building permit is prohibited. Removal of protected trees requires replanting or donation to the Town of Concord Tree Preservation Fund.
Promote or Require Planting of Trees