The Atlanta City Council has approved an ordinance proposed by Councilmember Natalyn Archibong to impose a citywide 180-day moratorium on the acceptance of any application to remove more than 10 trees on residential zoned parcels of five acres or larger.

During the moratorium period, the city will examine the impact development is having on the city’s tree canopy. The six-month period will also provide an opportunity to develop strategies for increasing and preserving the city’s tree canopy.

The city of Atlanta has a reputation as the “city in a forest” due to its abundance of trees. With 36 percent of the city covered in trees, Atlanta is more densely forested than other cities in the U.S., which average only 27 percent tree coverage. However, a recent tree canopy study conducted by Georgia Tech revealed a shortage of tree canopy in select areas of the city.

In November 2016, the City Council approved the use of a portion of the Tree Trust Fund to be used to procure privately-owned afforested property to be designated in perpetuity as forest land.

“Protecting our old growth forests is vitally important for our city. We are lucky to have several parcels of land throughout the city that have not been disturbed and that play an important role to our eco-system and to our quality of life,” said Archibong in a media statement. “As the result of this moratorium, we will be able to develop an intentional strategy for expanding our tree canopy for the benefit of generations to come.”

Collin Kelley

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.

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