Guidelines for Developing and Evaluating Tree Ordinances


Step E. Select tools and formulate the management strategy.

The objective of this step is to develop a management strategy that addresses your specific goals. There are many approaches that can be used to address each goal, and the pros and cons of each approach should be considered. Feasibility, practicality, legality, and economics should be considered in selecting the appropriate management tools. Some typical tools include: Community involvement and support continues to be important in this phase of the process. Management approaches and tools that are unacceptable to the community are unlikely to succeed. If a local government intends to push for more progressive tree management than local citizens are ready to accept, it should choose tools that will build community awareness and support, including educational and incentive programs. Your assessment of current and past management practices, should provide ideas about the effectiveness of various methods that have been used in your community. Public input and comment should be sought for any new approaches that may be contemplated or developed.

In analyzing the approaches or tools that may be used, the role of the tree ordinance in the overall strategy should become clear. In some cases, ordinance provisions will be necessary to authorize various management approaches, such as establishing the position of municipal arborist, requiring the development and implementation of a community forest master plan, or mandating a program of public education. In other cases, ordinance provisions may directly provide necessary parts of the strategy, for example by outlawing destructive practices.

The provisions placed in the tree ordinance should be directly related to the goals your community has established for its community forest. As noted earlier, these provisions should designate responsibility, grant authority, and specify enforcement methods. They should set basic performance standards, yet allow for flexibility in determining how these standards can be met. You can follow this link to see our goal-driven Guide to Drafting a Tree Ordinance, but be sure to read about the last two critical steps in the management process below.

Step F. Implement the management strategy.

Although a plan may appear ideal on paper, it clearly cannot achieve anything unless implemented. This requires the commitment of resources necessary to hire personnel, enforce ordinances, run educational programs, and carry out other components of the management strategy. The number of steps involved in implementing the management strategy may differ between communities. Steps typically involved in implementation may include:

Since a number of steps are usually involved in implementing the management strategy, it is useful to map out an implementation schedule. This time/action schedule should show the steps that are involved and the time frame within which they should be completed. Progress checks should be built into the schedule to ensure that delays or problems are detected and dealt with. These progress checks could be in the form of required progress reports to the city council or county board of supervisors. It is important to maintain a high profile for the management program during implementation to foster public interest and maintain the commitment of the local government. If interest and support dissipate before the strategy is implemented, the efforts spent to get to this point may be for naught.