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Forest Friendly Development Practices
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Forest Friendly Development Practices


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    • 1. forest friendly development practices Photo source: The Noisette Company
    • 2. Slideshow Content
      • Identify trees and forests to protect
      • Use site design techniques that conserve trees and native vegetation
      • Minimize clearing of native vegetation
      • Protect trees and soils during construction
      • Protect trees after construction
      • Plant trees at development sites
    • 3. Identify Trees and Forests to Protect
      • Conduct an inventory of existing forest to identify species, condition, and ecological value
      • Identify priority trees and forests for conservation
      Example forest stand delineation map
    • 4. Conservation Priorities
      • Rare, threatened or endangered species, specimen trees, other desirable species
      • Trees greater than a specified size, champion trees, forest stands of a minimum specified size
      • Trees and forest stands in good condition
      • Trees or forest stands that are adjacent to existing forest, located in protected natural areas (e.g., floodplains), or provide direct benefits at the site (e.g., shading)
      Tip: Where it is not possible to protect individual trees, transplant them to another portion of the site instead
    • 5. Use Site Design Techniques that Conserve Trees and Native Vegetation
      • Better Site Design techniques that can protect forests:
        • Open space design
        • Reduced street and ROW widths
        • Reduced parking ratios
        • Reduced lot frontages and setbacks
        • Use natural areas for stormwater treatment
        • Preserve stream buffers
    • 6. Open Space Design
      • Clusters lots on smaller portion of site to conserve natural areas
      • Incorporates smaller lot sizes
      • Minimizes total impervious area
      • Provides community open space
      • Promotes watershed protection
    • 7. Photo courtesy of Randall Arendt Open Space Development Conventional Development
    • 8. Open Space Design Potential Barriers Possible Resolutions Smaller lots are less marketable Many studies indicate that open space designs can save in construction costs while having a higher market value Developers may be discouraged from using open space design because it requires a special exception or additional review process Communities can revise their subdivision or zoning ordinances to make open space design by-right
    • 9. Millcreek subdivision in Lancaster, PA uses narrow streets, shorter setbacks, and sidewalks on one side of the street only to reduce impervious cover and conserve natural areas
    • 10. Open space was conserved at the Millcreek subdivision by clustering lots
    • 11. Minimize Clearing of Native Vegetation
      • Clearing and grading of native vegetation should be limited to the minimum needed to:
        • Build lots
        • Allow access
        • Provide fire protection
      • A suggested limit of disturbance (LOD) is 5 to 10 feet outward from building pads
    • 12. Site Fingerprinting
    • 13. Entire Site Cleared Site Fingerprinting Used Source: ARC, 2001
    • 14. Minimize Clearing Potential Barriers Possible Resolutions Preservation of trees during construction is prohibitively expensive. Minimizing clearing during construction and reduce earth movement and erosion and sediment control costs by up to $5,000/ acre (Delaware DNREC, 1997) Vegetation near homes can be a fire risk. In areas where clearing is required around a house, minimization of the entire site can still be achieved. This can be a challenge in wildfire areas. Greater clearing and grading maybe required to reduce risk of fires.
    • 15. Protect Trees and Soil During Construction
      • Delineate the critical root zone (CRZ): the essential area of tree roots that must be protected for the tree’s survival
      • Install/enforce physical barriers to protect trees
        • Use signs and visible flagging
        • No construction, material storage, utilities, or vehicles allowed in protected zone
        • Enforce penalties for violation
        • Educate contractors
      • Protect soils from compaction/use soil stockpiling
    • 16. Protect Trees and Soil During Construction
      • Methods to delineate the CRZ:
      • Trunk diameter method
      • Site occupancy method
      • Minimum area method
      • Dripline method
      Trunk diameter method
    • 17. Trees are not adequately protected at this site, where construction materials are stored within the CRZ of trees
    • 18. The critical root zone of this tree is physically protected from compaction and damage Photo source: The Noisette Company
    • 19. Protect Trees During Construction Potential Barriers Possible Resolutions Additional cost of saving a tree outweigh benefits. Property values increased by 6-15% on both residential and commercial sites (Morales, 1980 and Weyerhauser, 1989) Single family homes in Athens, GA with an average of 5 trees/ home sold for 3.5-4.5% more than houses without trees (National Arbor Day Foundation, 1996)
    • 20. Protect Trees After Construction
      • Educate residents about protected areas
      • Specify management of open space – use maintenance agreements, homeowners’ association (HOA)
      • Tree and forest protection ordinances
    • 21. Posting signs at the boundaries of forest conservation areas is an important method for informing and educating the public
    • 22. Specify Management of Open Space
      • Clearly specify how community open space will be managed
        • Community association/HOA
        • Conservation easement
        • Transfer to land trust ownership
        • Publicly owned land
      • Designate a sustainable legal entity responsible for managing open space
      • Specify native vegetation and restrict tree removal
    • 23. As much open space as possible should be retained in a natural condition and lawns and playgrounds may not be counted towards this portion
    • 24. The Cost of Open Space Management Open Space Management Strategy Annual Maintenance Cost Natural open space only minimum maintenance trash/debris cleanup $75/acre Lawns regular mowing $240-270/acre Passive recreation $200/acre
    • 25. Open Space Management Potential Barriers Possible Resolutions Common areas, stormwater management, and other facilities can be expensive. Many of these costs can be offset by reducing the amount of paving on a site. Community association management of open space areas are not reliable Other options for management include donation to a land trust, conservation easements, and other strategies for maintaining the viability of community associations
    • 26. Tree and Forest Protection Ordinances
      • Provide specific criteria for long-term protection and maintenance of natural areas (e.g., restrict tree clearing except for safety reasons)
      • Establish appropriate enforcement measures
      • Designate an entity responsible for holding and managing forest conservation easements
      • Model ordinances available at:
    • 27. Plant Trees at Development Sites
      • Local roads
        • Tree lawns
        • Median strips
        • Cul-de-sac islands
      • Parking lots
        • Parking lot islands
        • Parking lot perimeter
      • Home lawns
      • Stormwater treatment practices (STPs)
        • Wetlands
        • Swales
        • Filter strips
        • Bioretention
    • 28. Conventional development with no street trees
    • 29. Trees planted in the tree lawn provide a canopy over the street when they mature
    • 30. Trees planted in a median strip
    • 31. A typical cul-de-sac is a large expanse of pavement with no vegetation
    • 32. Trees can be incorporated into cul-de-sac islands
    • 33. Where are all the trees?
    • 34. Expanded parking lots island with trees that share rooting space
    • 35. Trees in parking lots perimeter
    • 36. Where are all the trees?
    • 37. Trees planted on home lawns provide shade and other benefits at maturity
    • 38. Typical stormwater pond with no trees
    • 39. Stormwater dry pond with trees
    • 40. Bioretention facility with trees
    • 41. Plant Trees at Development Sites Potential Barriers Possible Resolutions Trees not allowed in STPs Cappiella, et al (2005) provides guidance on incorporating trees into STP design Subdivision standards specify narrow tree lawn and parking lot islands that will not support large healthy trees Use expanded tree pits to allow shared rooting space. Communities can revise codes to require larger planting spaces Trees not allowed because of overhead wires Communities can revise codes to allow utilities to be placed underground