KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — East Tennessee is known for having plenty of greenery and one local organization is hoping to keep it that way with the Knoxville Urban Forest Master Plan.

The road leading up to the master plan started back in the fall of 2020 with an urban tree canopy assessment. It’s with those results from Knoxville and Knox County that experts found the tree canopy in the area has seen a lot of changes in the last decade, including trees being vulnerable to disease, pests, the changing climate, city population changes, and development growth.

This is all why the organization “Trees Knoxville” decided to spearhead this master plan with other community partners. The main goal is to grow a vibrant healthy urban forest community.

Dale Madden, the Earthadelic Chair with Trees Knoxville said the public’s input will be key in moving this plan forward.

“We really encourage all the folks who are interested in trees, who have tree stories, who have trees in their neighborhoods, have issues with trees, just to fill out our survey,” said Madden. “We’re really trying to get input from the public because that’s what’s going to drive the plan, that’s really the big influence that we’re needing in order for us to design this plan and how we’re going to move ahead with the City of Knoxville managing the urban tree canopy.”

Madden also explained there are plenty of social, economic, and environmental benefits trees can provide to the community.

“The social benefits are increased physical activity, improved air quality, and improved mood,” Madden began. He added that the environmental impacts would be reduced flooding and reduced heat-island effect. “When it comes to economic impacts, having trees on properties certainly adds to the property value, it adds to the use of the space, people enjoy being around trees more,” he concluded.

There are several events coming up as part of the Knoxville Urban Forest Master Plan effort. They are listed in the graphic below. Those interested can also fill out a survey on the master plan website.

Upcoming Knoxville Urban Forest Master Plan events as shown on the plan’s website.