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Sustainable Springfield Inc. (SSI) is an environmental grass roots organization that promotes and inspires sustainable solutions by our local governments, the business community, and Springfield area citizens through education, networking, and collaboration.

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Urban Tree Canopy Program

Proposal on Protecting Springfield’s Urban Tree Canopy:  Urban Tree Canopy Program

In order to prevent a net loss of trees in Springfield and to protect mature trees, Springfield’s Urban Tree Canopy could be assessed annually by the city utilizing i-tree software and a city boundary map of Springfield.  All trees removed by the city or commercial companies of 8” DBH or greater are to be replaced with a new native and non-invasive tree that is at minimum 2 ½ DBH by the party removing the existing tree.

On commercial properties planning 8” DBH or greater tree removals, a Tree Study could be provided by the lot owner and submitted to the City Arborist which will include a Tree survey that has the location, type, and DBH of all trees 8 “ DBH or greater. If tree replacement is not feasible, the equivalent value of the tree and labor to attain one 8” DBH tree is to be deposited into the Tree Replacement Fund. This plan to preserve Springfield’s urban forest serves a wide variety of functions:

  1. Conserves energy through cooling with shade and conserves water by directing water into the ground reducing evaporation.
  2. Absorbs carbon dioxide.
  3. Provides habitat for wildlife
  4. Reduces storm runoff and potential soil erosion and provides natural flood control.
  5. Provides aesthetic quality that attracts visitors and contributes to the distinct character of neighborhoods while providing natural privacy to neighbors.




City Arborist. The City Arborist appointed by the Mayor or any other Certified Arborist designated by the Director of Parks and Forestry and approved by the Mayor to exercise any of the authority granted to the City Arborist.


DBH (Diameter at Breast Height). The diameter of a tree trunk measured in inches at a height of four feet above the ground.


Lot. A parcel of land in identical ownership throughout, bounded by other lots or streets, which is designated by its owner to be used, developed or built upon as a unit.


Mitigation Plan. A document to be included with any Tree Study submitted for a project where Significant Trees are proposed to be removed from a lot, stating 1) why any Significant Trees are proposed to be removed from a lot, 2) a description of the Replacement Trees proposed to replace the Significant Trees to be removed or the value of which is proposed to be paid to the City to be deposited into the Tree Replacement Fund. 3) an estimate from a local nursery for the cost of purchasing, planting, watering and (in the case of commercial or multi-unit residential) maintaining said Replacement Trees for a period of not less than five years or the value of which is proposed to be paid to the City to be deposited into the Tree Replacement Fund, 4) certification from a Certified Arborist that the proposed Replacement Trees and cost estimates for purchasing, planting, watering and maintaining said Trees are appropriate and reasonable. The City Arborist shall determine tree replacement for the Significant Tree(s) being replaced by a formula such that the replacement trees are no less than two and a half (2 ½ ) inch caliper and total approximately equal the DBH of the Significant Tree(s) being replaced. Species shall be determined by the City Arborist based on the favorability and survivability in light of the surrounding environment.


Owner. An owner shall be defined as set forth in the City of Springfield Assessor’s records.


Protected Tree. Any tree subject to the provisions of this ordinance.


Replacement Trees. A tree or trees to be planted on a lot to replace any Significant Trees to be removed from the lot, or whose equivalent value, as applicable, shall be equal to or exceed the total DBH of the Significant Trees to be removed from the lot.


Significant Trees. Any tree or trees larger than 8” DBH which are on a lot or which has been removed from the lot within one year prior to the submission of a Tree Study to the City Arborist.


Tree Protection Plan. This plan may be either a separate drawing or part of a landscape plan, and shall include the following information:


  1. Drawings of tree protection measures and i) their location on the lot, including Tree Save Areas, and the location, height and DBH of Significant Trees and an indication of which Significant Trees would remain on the site, or (ii) in the event that any Significant Trees are proposed to be removed, the location and DBH of Replacement Trees which are proposed to be planted on the lot if feasible, or (iii) in the event that Replacement Trees are not proposed to be planted on the lot, the total sum, as identified in the Mitigation Plan, to be paid to the City to be deposited into the Tree Replacement Fund, shall be required to be submitted together with the Tree Protection Plan;
  2. A schedule for planting the proposed Replacement Trees and a representation that such trees will be inspected and, if necessary, treated by a Certified Arborist once a year for five years.


Tree Save Area. The area surrounding a tree which must remain undisturbed so as to prevent damage to the tree.


Tree Study. The information submitted to the City Arborist, which shall include a Tree Survey, a Tree Protection Plan, and, if applicable, a Mitigation Plan.


Tree Survey. A plan showing the location and DBH of all trees with 8” DBH or greater on a lot.



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