The Environmental Journal of Southern Appalachia
Tuesday, 13 December 2022 13:18

Seeing the city for the trees

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IMG 2632This mighty oak is but one of many growing for decades in South Knoxville.  Thomas Fraser/Hellbender Press

Contribute to the master plan to grow tree canopy in Knoxville

KNOXVILLE — No matter where you are in the city, you’re not far from a patch or two of trees.

These copses range from small groupings of oaks or dogwoods that are commonly used to mark property boundaries to lush belts of temperate mixed-hardwood forest that sprawl across hundreds of acres. 

While Knoxville may be blessed with an abundance of these urban forests, many local residents and leaders believe it’s nowhere near enough.

To that end, the city and Trees Knoxville, a non-profit group, are putting together a master plan meant to increase tree cover in all parts of the city.

The process is set to launch at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 14 at the Civic Coliseum on Howard H. Baker Jr. Avenue and everyone — residents, business owners, developers, community groups and other stakeholders — is invited. 

The Knoxville Urban Forest Master Plan will be a long-term roadmap based on data and community input drawn from a series of public and stakeholder meetings set for 2023, according to city officials.

“Trees play a vital role in our community, providing many environmental, social and economic benefits,” city Urban Forester Kasey Krouse said. 

“The plan will use data from the Urban Tree Canopy Assessment, obtain extensive amounts of public/stakeholder input and data, and look to improve the quality of life throughout Knoxville by enhancing, preserving and increasing tree cover on private and public land in an equitable, proactive and sustainable way.”

The tree canopy assessment referred to by Krouse was released last year. It found that there are more than 24,000 acres of tree cover in Knoxville, which adds up to 38 percent of the total land area. It also broke down possible planting areas and potential canopy by both City Council districts and neighborhoods. 

The Knoxville Utilities Board, the Tennessee Division of Forestry and Keep Knoxville Beautiful are also partners in developing the plan. 

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Last modified on Sunday, 18 December 2022 11:20