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Step 2 - Establish a Tree Board

Reference Number: MTAS-1353
Tennessee Code Annotated
Reviewed Date: December 08, 2020
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Usually, the first step after initial educational efforts is to establish a legally constituted board, commission or committee to act as an advisory group to city government. This can be accomplished through an ordinance or charter procedure. Tree boards in larger cities may perform in broad planning, policy making, advisory and coordinating roles. In smaller towns, a tree board will be more involved in developing budgets, creating specific forestry plans and annual work plans, and perhaps even in helping carry out program operations.

Tree board members may be elected or appointed and may or may not be given policy-making powers. The board may be financially independent, an incorporated entity or a budgeted agency of city government.

A broad representation on the board from various agencies and interest groups will increase the board’s credibility to balance the needs of different segments of the community.

A tree board ordinance is sometimes a stand-alone ordinance or part of a broader overall tree ordinance providing for care of urban trees. However constituted, the following elements should be included:

  • Statement of creation and establishment;
  • Number of members;
  • Qualifications of members;
  • Term of office, succession, and provision for staggered terms;
  • Provision for vacancies;
  • Compensation, if any;
  • Board duties and responsibilities;
  • Scope of responsibility; and
  • Operational provisions, rules, recordkeeping, etc.


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