Charlotte Urban Forest Fact Sheet


City Statistics

Population+ 731,424
Land area by acres* 337,280
Park acreage* 18,551

+Based on the 2010 U.S. Census
*Courtesy of The Trust for Public Land


Charlotte Urban Forest Facts*

  • There are 85,146 publicly managed street trees.
  • The predominant tree species are willow oak and crapemyrtle.
  • There is approximately one public tree for every seven residents of Charlotte.
  • The city’s tree inventory contains 215 tree species.
  • 37 percent of surveyed trees are less than six inches in diameter.
  • Charlotte’s trees:
    • Intercept approximately 28 million cubic feet of stormwater annually, which equates to $2.1 million in stormwater management savings.
    • Provide $914,000 annually in energy savings.
    • Sequester 10,860 tons of carbon dioxide and reduce emissions by 3,235 tons, which is estimated to be of $198,500 in value.
    • Provide aesthetic benefits, like increased property value, of approximately $2.76 million.
  • On average, a tree in Charlotte provides $69 in total benefits, and if it’s a street tree, it provides $166.
  • Trees in Charlotte return $3.25 in benefits for every dollar invested.
  • Charlotte’s urban tree canopy is 46 percent.+

* As reported in “Municipal Forest Resource Analysis,” which was developed for Charlotte in 2005 by the Center for Urban Forest Research, U.S. Forest Service Pacific Southwest Research Station.
+ As reported to American Forests in its survey of the 50 most populous U.S. cities.


Top 10 Criteria

Urban Forest Management Plan Yes, first completed in 2008 and revised in 2010
Urban Canopy Goal Yes, supported by, but not mandated by, the city government
Quality of Urban Forest Compared to Others in Region Better than normal, which means minor biotic damage and few invasive species, minimal anthropogenic  disturbance, high water quality and good drainage
Tree Inventory Yes, covering public and private land
Tree Species Diversity Plan Yes
Tree Ordinances Yes, for both public and private lands covering hazard, historic and other trees, plus a new zoning ordinance which includes tree protection sections
Comprehensive Greening Plans Yes, including a Green Infrastructure Plan, Sustainability Plan and a city council-adopted Environment Focus Area plan, which oversees several ordinances (zoning ordinance, water quality ordinances, tree ordinance)
Types of Greening Initiatives Protection of open spaces; natural resource restoration;urban forests as part of planning for runoff, erosion and/or flooding; green jobs training; active involvement of environmental stewardship groups; interactions with NGOs to further tree canopy goals
Park Acres per 1,000 People 25.36
Percentage of Land as Park 5.50
Quality of Civic Engagement Good, with a citywide coordinated effort between nonprofits and neighborhood action, including a public-private initiative to plant trees on private property in areas/ neighborhoods that are lacking in tree canopy
Tree City USA* Yes
Conference of Mayors Climate Protection Agreement Signatory Yes

*Designation awarded by The Arbor Day Foundation to cities that have a tree board or department, a tree care ordinance, a community forestry program with an annual budget of at least $2 per capita and an Arbor Day observance and proclamation.

Critical Issues