Testify for Trees

It’s no surprise that our advocacy centers around protecting trees.. Our large trees have taken decades to mature and it’s our collective responsibility to make sure they continue to thrive – shading generations from the hot summer sun and filtering the air in our busy city streets. Protecting these trees is only a part of the challenge. We must also ensure that new trees are being planted and that they continue to have open green space and soil to grow. Trees connect us all through our environment and our community, that is why all of our asks come back to this theme of protecting, planting and preserving.

Plant new trees

Development and tree preservation are not mutually exclusive.  When trees must be removed to make way for new buildings and roadways, we advocate for them to be replaced. However, replacing mature trees with young trees can impact the canopy over time.This is especially true when large canopy trees are replaced with smaller ornamental trees. Species diversity is important, but we must consider the immense value of planting large canopy trees in new developments that can grow to provide the necessary shade to cool our warming cities. By planting trees at a rate that provides canopy replacement, not per tree replacement, we can ensure the canopy can be restored to its former glory.

Protect existing trees

The Urban Forest Preservation Act is DC’s only tree law. It protects all trees with a circumference of 44 inches or larger. However, it only covers trees that are removed by nongovernmental companies. DC agencies do not need permission to remove trees, even those that are 90 inches in circumference. We would like to expand the law so that everyone removing a tree is treated equally.

Provide the DC Urban Forestry Division with stop work order authority

The Urban Forestry Division (UFD) is responsible for maintaining and protecting trees in the District. However, while they can issue fines for harm to Special or Heritage trees, they cannot stop the ongoing work that is harming the trees. By giving UFD Arborists stop work order authority, they will be able to proactively protect DC’s largest trees from harm.

Preserve greenspace

Undeveloped land is a premium in Washington DC, but development is also important if the city is going to keep up with the demand of a growing population. We advocate for denser development, that maximizes the amount of trees and green space that can be retained. We also ask that underutilized or undevelopable green spaces be put in conservation easements to make these areas “forever green”.

Through effective communication with developers, legislatures, and other decision makers your voice will help us re-tree D.C. for future generations.

Want to help? Here are some ideas of what you can do:

Big Wins in the 2020 Budget


Casey Trees Testifies at D.C.’s Performance and Oversight Hearings


Small Cells and 5G are coming to D.C. Help us make sure trees survive this.


DGS Written Testimony of Leah Harnish

DCOZ Written Testimony of Dr. Jessica Sanders

DCOP Testimony of Leah Harnish

DPR Written Testimony of Dr. Jessica Sanders