TreesCharlotte summit focuses on city tree canopy

Gingko trees in uptown Charlotte show their colors in November. Photo: Nancy Pierce

The UNC Charlotte Urban Institute is cosponsoring the fifth annual Urban Forestry Summit by the nonprofit group TreesCharlotte on Sept. 20 at UNC Charlotte Center City.

The aim of the event is to share information and discussion about topics relevant to Charlotte’s urban forest. The event is free and open to the public but registration is required.

The agenda includes a 3-5 p.m. stakeholder program intended for industry-related participants, a 5-6 p.m. cocktail reception for the public and an evening program 6-8:30 p.m.

Keynote speakers will be David J. Nowak of the U.S. Forest Service and Larry Selzer of The Conservation Fund, a national nonprofit group that recently assembled land that will more than double the size of North Carolina’s Mount Mitchell State Park. (Read more on that here.)

TreesCharlotte, established in 2012, has a goal to increase the percentage of the city land covered by tree canopy to 50 percent by 2050, up from 47 percent today. The group works with volunteers to plant trees in neighborhoods around the city. It also works in partnership with the City of Charlotte’s Urban Forestry staff, which manages trees on city right of way.

The city estimates there are 180,000 public street trees, about 10 percent of the total tree canopy in Charlotte. One concern about the canopy, especially in the city’s older neighborhoods, is that so many street trees are willow oaks – the stately trees lining Queens Road in Myers Park – planted around the start of the 20th century, and they are near the end of their natural lifespan.  

“Trees are our crowning glory,” Chuck Cole, outreach director for TreesCharlotte, said in an interview earlier this year. “Our tree canopy is what helps pull people into the city. I want to make sure we have enough trees for our descendants and people of the future.”