Study: Charlotte Losing Tree Canopy In Part To Development

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — The tree canopy that shades much of Charlotte is in decline, according to a study which said the current coverage is threatened.

A study by the University of Vermont says Charlotte lost 8% of its tree canopy between 2012 and 2018, The Charlotte Observer reported Friday. The study was done in collaboration with the nonprofit group TreesCharlotte.

According to the study, North Carolina’s largest city still had 45% of tree canopy in 2018, but it is threatened. The city gained about 2,200 acres of canopy through replantings, but the study also found Charlotte lost nearly 10,000 acres, much of it in large tracts of forest cleared for development.

A study by the school commissioned by the city in 2014 characterized Charlotte’s tree canopy at 47% and holding steady despite surging development.

The findings make Charlotte’s goal of 50% tree canopy by 2050 more difficult to reach, city officials have acknowledged last year will be hard to meet. While the loss of trees is immediate, it takes years for newly planted saplings to grow enough to add to the canopy.

Researchers said a more effective strategy would be to preserve trees.