Old Oak Tree in Kane County
Old Oak Tree in Kane County

Kane County Looks at Urban Forest Management and Tree Preservation Measure

by Public Information Office Intern Gabe Kertesz 6/26/2023 9:00AM

Kane County is exploring ways to protect trees in unincorporated areas through the creation of an Urban Forest Management Plan and a Tree Preservation Ordinance. 

​A plan to develop an ordinance to protect existing and future trees was the topic of discussion during a recent meeting of the Kane County Energy and Environmental committee where

The goal of the initiative would be to slow deforestation as the urban and suburban areas of Kane County continue to grow. According to Kane County Forest Preserve Executive Director Ben Haberthur, since the first survey of Kane County's vegetation was taken in 1837 until today, Kane County has lost over 90% of its oaks and their associated species. “For every one tree you see out there, nine are missing," said Haberthur while addressing committee members. 

He added that the number of ecologically viable woodlands (50 acres or more) is down “in the teens.   “Any sort of ordinance this committee is evaluating is within the mission of the Forest Preserve District to support that," said Haberthur.

Given the County's rising population and economic development, this initiative could be a way to preserve the County's natural beauty while allowing more development to take place.

It was also pointed out that trees are important in protecting the environment, filtering air and water, preventing floods, and maintaining higher levels of biodiversity in urban and urbanizing areas.

Kane County is considering using the Chicago Region Trees Initiative's Tree (CRTI) preservation ordinance builder to help steer their decisions regarding their own ordinance.

The CRTI grades the level of tree cover in different Chicagoland areas, and grades them from “very low" to “very high" tree cover.  Kane County has a number of areas with very low and very high tree cover, often quite close to each other within the same communities.  The goal of these programs will be to prevent any further decay in tree cover in Kane County, and potentially spur an increase in some areas.

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