Trees for healthy and safe communities in Knoxville.
Trees and tree canopy play a very significant role as city infrastructure in Knoxville, especially as we face the impacts of climate change. Trees are one of the best ways to reduce the heat island effect and air pollution, which together have huge impacts on public health. Trees also play a key role in intercepting stormwater to prevent flooding and water pollution, and can improve quality of life in many other ways.
However, the tree canopy in Knoxville has seen a lot of changes in the last decade, and is vulnerable to threats from disease, pests, the changing climate and city population and development growth. For this reason, the Knoxville community spent 2023 working to development an urban forest master plan! This plan was spearheaded by Trees Knoxville, and in partnership with the City of Knoxville, the State of Tennessee, Keep Knoxville Beautiful and the Knoxville Utilities Board.
Read the plan, learn more about this project, and ways the community was involved.
What is an urban forest?
An urban forest is a term that refers to all trees within a city, across public and privately-owned lands. Tree canopy refers to the part of a city that is shaded by trees. Canopy cover is the percentage of the city that is covered by trees when viewed from above, as opposed to other land cover like water, open green space, hard surfaces and bare soil. In Knoxville, 36% of the city is covered by trees. Learn more about Knoxville's tree canopy.
How did we get here?
In 2020, the City of Knoxville partnered with Trees Knoxville and other community organizations to conduct a comprehensive Urban Tree Canopy Study. The study looked at tree canopy cover between 2008 and 2018 across Knox County. Many areas within the county saw dramatic change in those ten years. To ensure protection and growth in our tree canopy over the coming decades, Trees Knoxville initiated this effort in the summer 2022 to create this long-term strategic plan is needed to effectively care for and manage this important community asset. Upon hiring Urban Canopy Works as a project consultant, Trees Knoxville officially started the project in November 2022, and completed in February 2024.