Since its founding in 1985, Scenic Tennessee has advocated for appropriate policies and controls in numerous areas, including
Scenic Tennessee cares about trees. Tree preservation policies and ordinances are needed to help build and maintain our state's forests, streetscape, trees along roadways, neighborhood canopy and landscaped public spaces.
Trees make cities healthier places to be. Not only do they effectively reduce the urban air temperature (up to 10° depending on the canopy), their leaves also filter out air pollutants and reduce storm water runoff. They soften the visual environment in the downtown and provide a framework for many of our public spaces. In the South, people are naturally attracted to trees in yards, along a sidewalk or at a business; they will stay longer and visit often if an area is shady, lush and green.
Trees also provide a habitat for birds and other animals that inhabit the city. In order to provide real beneficial effects, trees should cover 15% of the total urban area. In outlying areas, a goal of 20% to 30% tree cover is desired for new developments.
There are multiple benefits for everyone in the overall greening of our community, including:
- Increased tree cover equals cleaner air and water
- Graywater reuse & Best Management Practices (BMPs) for stormwater possible as trees act as filters
- Overall greening increases through streetscape, buffers, forests, planters and neighborhood tree canopy
- Trees build walkable connections via greenways, trails, sidewalks and pedestrian ways
- Increased appeal for tourists and visitors
- Activity and recreation opportunities
- Property enhancement and increased value
- Increased public awareness and education leads to private-sector stewardship
- Living laboratory for educating future generations, i.e., urban forestry studies, community gardens and habitat programs
Many Tennessee cities participate as a Tree City, U.S.A. This designation, which requires that they have a Tree Commission and an adopted policy or ordinance, provides eligibility for national and state funding (e.g., through grants). These projects are costly and take considerable investment. A goal for greening an urban environment requires a minimum of 15% for a healthy downtown environment.
A green emphasis on natural systems within the urban environment and for suburban areas is best met with aggressive plans, policies and programs to stimulate significant increases in parks, street trees, watershed protection, buffers, urban forest, and green spaces. City streetscape should be prioritized to major corridors and popular destinations to complete a system of walkable streets that connect communities. Scenic Tennessee can share creative solutions that promote the greening of our communities.
People need trees and adequate green space. In a recent Chattanooga survey, whe asked, "What would it take to bring you downtown as a resident?", the number-one response was "more trees and green spaces."
Each year, multiple requests are made by Chattanooga neighborhoods and business districts for enhancements such as streetscape and parks. On average, streetscape enhancements are budgeted at a cost of $300 per tree alone as a minimum cost! Recommended planting should repeat every 35' to 50' to build a canopy. Maintaining these plantings is another aspect of greening that must be met. City budgets are not always able to take on all of these major improvements. To meet this increase, the best solution is often to share the burden of investment with a call to businesses and residents to assist in this long term vision. Attaining these greening goals will involve many partners, bringing additional stewards workig together to build and care for the public realm.
tree-cutting and vegetation removal along highway rights-of-way