KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — The City of Knoxville and nonprofit Trees Knoxville are inviting Knoxville residents, business owners, developers, community groups, and other stakeholders to help develop a long-term plan for increasing tree cover across the city.

At the launch party planned for 5:30-7 p.m. on Wednesday December 14 at the Civic Coliseum will offer those who come information about the Knoxville Urban Forest Master Plan and the planning process that is to come, according to the city’s release.

The plan will be developed using data and community input after a series of public and stakeholder meetings in 2023.

“Trees play a vital role in our community, providing many environmental, social and economic benefits,” Urban Forester Kasey Krouse said. “The City of Knoxville in partnership with Trees Knoxville is getting ready to launch an Urban Forest Master Plan, a 20-year roadmap on what our community needs to do maintain and increase tree cover across the City of Knoxville. The plan will use data from the Urban Tree Canopy Assessment, obtain extensive amounts of public/stakeholder input and data, and look to improve the quality of life throughout Knoxville by enhancing, preserving and increasing tree cover on private and public land in an equitable, proactive and sustainable way.”

The initial step for the Knoxville Urban Forest Master Plan was taken in the City’s 2021 Urban Tree Canopy assessment, which documented over 24,000 acres of tree cover in Knoxville, which is 38% of the total land area. According to the Knoxville Urban Forest Mast Plan website, In 2018, the total tree canopy covered 37% of Knoxville, but also revealed that just over 700 acres of tree canopy was lost between 2008 and 2018, mostly on residential private land.

“Trees are one of the best ways to reduce the heat island effect and air pollution, which together have huge impacts on public health.  Trees also play a key role in intercepting stormwater to prevent flooding and water pollution, and can improve quality of life in many other ways.” The knoxville Urban Fores Master Plan’s website reads.

An estimate on the Knoxville Urban Forest Master Plan’s website suggests that by Fall 2023, the plan will be in the community implementation phase.

The City of Knoxville, Trees Knoxville’s current partners behind the Knoxville Urban Forest Master Plan are the Knoxville Utilities Board, the Tennessee Division of Forestry, and Keep Knoxville Beautiful. To learn more about the plan, click here.