Louisville’s Urban Tree Canopy Assessment
Falling Urban Tree Canopy (UTC) Levels:
*UTC GOAL= 45%
Analysis of UTC since 2004 has shown a steady decrease in canopy cover, declining by 7% over the eight-year period (2004 to 2012). This equates to a loss of over 6,500 acres of canopy, averaging to 820 acres of canopy or 54,000 trees lost per year. At the same time, impervious surfaces like roads, buildings, parking lots, and sidewalks have grown steadily, increasing by 9% between 2004 and 2012.
If current trends hold, and factoring in loss of ash trees from EAB, Louisville canopy is projected to decrease to 31-35% in the next ten years, dropping to as low 31-35% in the next ten years, dropping to as low as 21% over the next forty years.
Louisville Metro Tree Advisory Commission
In 2012, Mayor Greg Fischer formed the Louisville Metro Tree Advisory Commission (LMTAC) by executive order to develop policies to better care for existing trees and plant new ones. The LMTAC successfully advocated for the hiring of an urban forester, the completion of the city's first tree canopy assessment, and the creation of a proposed tree protection ordinance. In June 2015, the adjournment of the LMTAC prompted the formation of TreesLouisville, a nonprofit dedicated to raising public awareness of Louisville's canopy loss and planting needs.