Board of Supervisors Adopts Tree Canopy Goal

Fairfax County Office of Public Affairs
12000 Government Center Parkway, Suite 551
Fairfax, VA 22035-0065
Contact: Merni Fitzgerald, Director of Public Affairs
703-324-3187, TTY 711, Fax 703-324-2010
Media Pager: 703-324-NEWS (6397)

July 17, 2007

Board of Supervisors Adopts Tree Canopy Goal

Goal Supports “Cool Counties” Initiative to Reduce Greenhouse Gases

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors recently adopted a goal to cover 45 percent of the county with tree cover by 2037. This tree canopy goal is one of the most ambitious for any local government in the metropolitan Washington, D.C., area.

The board took action because trees help to combat global warming, as well as air and water pollution. The goal supports the county’s new “Cool Counties” initiative to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and it also pushes forward the county’s Tree Action Plan. Since 2003, the board has implemented more than $6 million worth of projects and programs to address air quality and global climate change.

Besides protecting the environment, the new tree canopy is expected to save taxpayers money. Once matured, the trees should provide $5.3 million of air pollution removal and $4.7 million of energy conservation every year. The canopy also will have the capacity to absorb more than 10 million pounds of carbon dioxide annually, which could eliminate the need for $1 million in greenhouse gas reduction services each year.

To reach the goal, the county and the public will need to plant an additional 2.6 million trees — or 20,400 acres of new canopy — as well as maintain existing trees. New trees will be needed because the county expects to lose 4 percent of its canopy during the next 30 years. This projected canopy loss is equivalent to seven parks the size of Huntley Meadows, one of the county’s largest.

The “Cool Counties” initiative identifies specific steps the county can take to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The new initiative was created in partnership with the Sierra Club, and more information can be found at

The county’s Tree Action Plan aims to conserve and maintain trees. The plan sets forward 12 strategies for preserving and planting trees. These include encouraging homeowners to plant trees and strengthening the county’s tree conservation policies.

For more information about the new goal or the Tree Action Plan, call 703-324-5500, TTY 711, or visit

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