Clear-cutting of trees for development continues to be a factor in loss of tree canopy in Cuyahoga County, particularly in outlying suburbs. The loss of large areas of mature trees is difficult to replace.

example map of clear cutting
Local example of clear-cutting for development within Cuyahoga County

Between 2011 and 2017, sixteen sites exceeded ten acres of tree canopy loss, totaling 284 acres (see map below). At a conservative estimate of 66 mature trees per acre, these large sites accounted for a loss of over 18,000 trees. Reforestation plantings, where densities of 500-600 trees per acre are standard, would require over 142,000 seedlings to replace what was lost in these sixteen sites. [Cleveland Tree Plan, 2015].

map of areas that experienced clear-cutting

Tree preservation ordinances and community master plans can also be effective tools in guiding development. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources provides a number of resources in its Urban Forestry Toolbox. See TCA Forms & Downloads (Tree Commission Academy materials).

A solid riparian/wetland protection ordinance can go a long way toward preserving trees on both commercial and residential subdivision developments, and many communities have not adopted such ordinances. Locally, the Chagrin River Watershed Partners have a good model ordinance which has been used by many communities.

If extensive clearing must be done, a variety of techniques are available to builders to preserve existing vegetation on their development sites. The University of Massachusetts Amherst has provided helpful guidance on Preserving Trees During Construction.