is a more livable and healthy community for Louisville’s current and future generations through a robust community tree canopy.
is to raise public awareness of the value of the community forest and Louisville’s tree canopy deficit and to plant trees in areas of greatest need. We are a catalyst for broad civic engagement through public awareness, education and engagement campaigns that promote preservation and expansion of the tree canopy as a community-wide value and we convene interest groups to focus on canopy improvement.
is to ensure that the public and private investment in increasing the community tree canopy is done strategically and collaboratively and to provide a framework for supporting and coordinating existing tree planting organizations and efforts.
“A poor tree canopy isn’t just an aesthetic issue, it’s a business, homeowner and health issue – trees bring huge value to our city and its citizens. Reversing this decline must be a true community initiative.” – Mayor Greg Fischer
Louisville’s tree canopy is experiencing a steady decline – our city lost the equivalent of more than 54,000 trees per year between 2004 and 2012 according to the 2015 Urban Tree Canopy (UTC) Assessment. It’s estimated that Louisville’s urban tree canopy will decrease from 37% to as low as 21% over the next decades. For comparison, the minimum recommended percentage for our region is 40% – and Louisville Metro’s goal is to reach 45% tree canopy cover by 2050.
The UTC Assessment made it clear that aggressive steps need to be taken to remedy our ailing tree canopy. Although Louisville has organizations involved in aspects of tree canopy improvement, none had the single focus of Louisville’s tree canopy – enter TreesLouisville. Our organization will support and partner with these groups by combining our energies and resources, facilitating projects and identifying new opportunities to preserve and rebuild the community tree canopy.
Our purpose is to build the necessary support and capacity in the broader community to reach a goal of tree canopy coverage of 45% over the next decades.
The need for an organization solely focused on trees was first identified by the Louisville Metro Tree Advisory Commission (LMTAC). Created by Executive Order from Mayor Fisher in 2012, one of the duties assigned to the Commission was to advise the Mayor on the establishment of a fund to raise and accept private donations for expanding the tree canopy. The Commission researched what cities are doing in this regard, and Commission members attended Partners in Community Forestry National Conferences over the course of a few years. The information they gained confirmed what needed to be done in Louisville.
The common denominator in cities across the country that are successfully managing and increasing their urban tree canopies is the existence of an organization whose sole focus is on improving the status of the urban forest. A model for TreesLouisville is Trees Charlotte, started three years ago in response to the adoption of their community-wide canopy goal (50% coverage by 2050). There are many excellent examples in other cities such as Tree Pittsburgh, Tree Philly, Keep Indianapolis Beautiful, D.C.’s Casey Trees, and The Sacramento Tree Foundation. All are 501(c)3 locally-based private collaborations focused on creating and sustaining a robust tree canopy citywide.
The LMTAC sunsetted in the beginning of 2015, and on March 25, 2015, TreesLouisville was founded.