Sustainable Tree Management on the BeltLine

Trees Atlanta on Northeast Trail Segment 2. Photo by LoKnows Drones LLC.

At the core of the Atlanta BeltLine’s mission is a proactive approach to sustainable tree management. Planning for tree removal and replacement is integral to every project, reflecting our dedication to fostering a balanced and healthier ecosystem.  

Collaborating closely with Trees Atlanta, the BeltLine embraces an active role in reshaping spaces. Our approach to tree replacement involves replacing trees as required by the Tree Protection Ordinance. This can be a one-to-one replacement but is more often done by measuring the width of a tree’s trunk in caliper inches and then replacing trees that meet or exceed that number of inches. Our focus is to plant as broad a selection of native and adapted general species as we can to increase ecological diversity, resiliency, and sustainability. 

Trees removed are often invasive, making room for native and naturalized trees, strategically selected for their health and positive impact on the environment. The removal of trees along the Northeast Trail, for example, was a conscious step to construct a paved trail, accompanied by the meticulous replanting of at least 1,591 caliper inches of mostly native tree species.  

Our investment in trees spans across various projects and years, showcasing our long-term commitment:  

  • Spring 2023 witnessed Trees Atlanta planting over 500 trees along a 0.7-mile stretch of the Northeast Trail.  
  • The Stumpery Garden, established in 2020, offers a unique exploration of nature’s lifecycle.  
  • Salvaged trees from the Westside Trail found new life as bat boxes, coffee tables, and functional objects, contributing to the Lifecycle Building Center’s annual RE:Purpose Silent Auction. 
  • Innovative methods, such as employing goats and sheep to combat kudzu, showcase our innovative approach to protecting trees and forested areas. 

The Atlanta BeltLine is not just an urban development project; it’s a living narrative where the preservation of nature intertwines with progress. Our commitment to sustainable tree management includes diverse plantings, preservation efforts, and innovative repurposing of salvaged trees. Join us on the BeltLine, where the circle of life for trees is not just observed but actively nurtured, creating a balance between urban development and nature preservation. 

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