Brian Keightley, the new Director of the Urban Forest Management Division (UFMD), Public Works and Environmental Services, is a life-long resident of Fairfax County.
“I remember the Gypsy Moth invasion of the 1980s which brought public attention to the need to manage tree pests and to support tree conservation efforts throughout the county,” Keightley said.
UFMD practitioners monitor the county forest for insect and fungal threats to trees, manage forest resources and through public education, encourage residents to plant native trees on private property.
“Before Europeans arrived in what was to become the United States, the forest at that time started at the East Coast and continued to the Mississippi River,” Keightley said. “Meaning, Fairfax County is in a deciduous forest. Therefore, it is important to manage these resources.”
In 2019, the county enjoys a 57 percent tree canopy which provides numerous benefits to residents and to the environment. Trees have a cooling effect, protect wildlife, clean stormwater and help prevent flooding.
“It’s been proven through research that trees increase property values by 10 to 15 percent in residential areas,” he said.
To preserve this exceptional tree canopy, the Board of Supervisors made decisions throughout the years to require developers to maintain the number of trees on to-be-developed properties or to plant replacement trees that in years to come would contribute to the tree canopy.
An Urban Forester of the Day (UFOD) is available to assist residents with tree-related questions during regular business hours. Call 703-324-1770, TTY 711 or write to TreeMail@FairfaxCounty.gov.
Read the county’s tree story.