Trees & the Urban Forest

Tree Ordinance Stakeholder Committee Materials

The Tree Ordinance Stakeholder Committee has been asked to make recommendations for quick changes to incentives for tree preservation, equity of tree mitigation requirements, uses of tree mitigation funds, and the economic impact of tree mitigation to the Gainesville City Commission. All Committee agenda, minutes and materials will be posted HERE.


With 50% tree canopy coverage, Gainesville is recognized nationally as a community that practices wise stewardship of the urban forest. In 2005 the University of Florida Department of Forest Resources and Conservation estimated the number of trees within the City limits at 3 million!  The benefits these trees provide include:

  • The air we breathe (oxygen generation and air quality improvement).
  • Stormwater attenuation (flood control and pollution prevention)
  • Slowing global warming (carbon sequestered in roots, trunk, branches, and leaves)
  • Shading and cooling (energy conservation and lower GRU bills)
  • A quieter community (noise attenuation)
  • Remoistening the air through evapotranspiration (helps stabilize the rain cycle)
  • Wildlife habitat and aesthetic refinement
  • Protection during tropical storms (winds kept at canopy height rather than ground level)
Gainesville is a city in a forest for many reasons. On the earliest maps, the area between Wildwood and the Okeefenokee is identified as “The Great Hammock”.  Present day Gainesville is in the center of this great forest. People in Gainesville have always protected trees.  As a result, Live Oaks older than 300 years are not unusual in our community.

To maintain the urban forest, Nature Operations staff in the Department of Parks Recreation and Cultural Affairs enforce the tree protection measures in the Land Development Code. Proper pruning, right-tree, right-place planting, protection of healthy trees of sturdy species and removal of hazardous trees will assure the continuation of a safe and sustainable tree canopy for our community.

Use this link to send email about Urban Forest Management with questions about trees in parks, tree-related ordinances, planning and development impacts on trees, to request a tree removal permit, or for volunteering to provide after-care for a tree the City will provide and plant on the right-of-way in front of your home.

Street trees are maintained by the Public Works Department. Email a request for tree work to pubwrk@cityofgainesville.org.

Get ready now for a new storm season—it’s easy! Click here to learn more about trees, high winds and the City’s response to “tree emergencies.”