Dallas Approves Its First Urban Forest Master Plan

The City Council of Dallas, TX has unanimously approved the city’s first urban forest master plan. The plan was created by the nonprofit Texas Trees Foundation and funded by the Lyda Hill Philanthropies® and Oncor. 

The City Council pointed out that Dallas has never had a comprehensive plan for managing the urban forest, instead relying on various departments to manage urban forestry activities. This has led to a diffusion of responsibilities, a redundancy of efforts, and missed opportunities. 

The plan addresses the benefits of trees, the current state of the forest, and the challenges it faces, such as pests and disease control, rapid urban development, and an inequitable distribution of tree canopy.  It recommends 14 goals for a unified approach to building a resilient and equitable urban forest. 

One of the major recommendations in the report is the need to expand the city’s tree canopy. The City’s average tree canopy is 29%, which puts it well within average range for cities in the US. But, nearly half of all trees in the metropolitan area  are found in the Great Trinity Forest. The remainder of the canopy is heavily concentrated in areas zoned for residential and park land. Some commercially zoned parcels in Dallas have a UTC of less than 5%.

“This collaborative effort represents a major step forward for our city. It emphasizes the strategic importance of our urban forest and provides guidance for our community as the City of Dallas sets the standards and takes the lead in urban forestry management in North Texas,” Dr. Bobby Lyle, Chairman of the Board of Trustees for the Texas Trees Foundation said.