Urban Forestry

“Urban Forestry is a specialized branch of forestry that has as its objective the cultivation and management of trees for their present and potential contribution to the physiological, sociological and economic well-being of urban society...” (Society of American Foresters 1974)

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Urban forests are dynamic ecosystems that provide numerous benefits to the people and wildlife that live among them. Urban forests filter air and water, reduce carbon dioxide and provide oxygen, slow and reduce stormwater runoff, conserve energy, and provide animal habitat and shade. They add beauty, form, and structure to urban design. By reducing noise and providing places to recreate, urban forests strengthen social cohesion, spur community revitalization, and add economic value to our communities. They provide so many benefits that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and city planners regard them as part of a city’s “green infrastructure.”  At a time when more and more people around the world live in cities, it is increasingly important to care for our urban trees and recognize the many benefits that our urban forests provide. The City of Annapolis has been recognized as a Tree City USA by the Arbor Day Foundation for 27 years. Trees in the City of Annapolis provide a wealth of benefits and are an essential City asset for us and for generations to come.

City Tree Code and Forms

City Code Chapter 14.12 Trees  

  1. Applies when no grading permit, building permit, or site design plan review are required.
  2. The removal of any tree over five inches in diameter at breast height (dbh) requires a tree permit when the tree is within the legally defined front, side, or rear setbacks of any residential or commercial property next to a public right-of-way.  For setback info: City Code Chapter 21.50 – Bulk Regulations Tables.  Download, fill out and submit a tree removal permit as instructed in the document.
  3. The removal of any tree in the Historic District requires approval of the Historic Preservation Commission.  Please submit a tree removal permit and an HPC Administrative Approval Application.  Check to see if your property is in the Historic District.
  4. Tree replacement requirements for aforementioned items 2 and 3:
    Removed treeReplacement Tree(s)
    Greater than 20"3 trees
    10.1—20″ Diameter breast height (dbh)2 trees
    5—10″ Diameter breast height (dbh)1 tree
  5. The removal of any tree within a hundred feet of the water requires a simplified buffer management plan or a buffer management plan for buffer exemption area or a major/minor buffer management plan. Please submit the forms to the Department of Planning and Zoning (P&Z). 
  6. The removal of any tree in a conservation easement area requires approval of the City’s Conservancy Board. Please submit a tree permit. Please check to see if part of your property is in a conservation easement or next to one.