We are losing trees and open space at a dramatic rate. According to the 2008 study of Mecklenburg County completed by American Forests, Inc., between 1985 and 2008 we lost 33% of tree canopy, 2.8% of our open space, and increased our urban/impervious area (roads, parking lots, buildings) by 60%. The most recent study completed by University of Vermont in 2018 indicates Charlotte’s tree canopy percentage has declined to 45% of landcover, a decline of 5% from 2008. Loss of tree canopy results in lost air quality benefits, loss of greenhouse storage in trees, loss of greenhouse gas removal services by trees, and increased costs to manage storm water; not to mention loss of habitat, less stream protection, and negative impacts to home values.
The loss of natural area and trees coupled with large increases in impervious surfaces amounts to unsustainable growth and our environment will continue to degrade if we do not act.