What native trees are protected?

Protected trees can include native, heritage and historic trees. Invasive trees are generally not considered protected and therefore may not require a permit to do so. Municipalities often require developers or homeowners to apply for tree removal permits when trying to remove certain types of protected trees. Invasive trees are generally not considered protected and therefore may not require a permit to be removed.

In addition, depending on the jurisdiction, invasive trees may or may not need to be mitigated. In accordance with this ordinance, upon approval or as a condition of approval, protected trees that are removed during development must be replaced from a list of approved trees. The list is usually composed of native trees or, at a minimum, of the species that have been shown to be suitable for the area. In addition, municipalities have the option of requiring that a certain percentage of the trees used as replacements be native to the area.

These ordinances can also identify invasive trees and require the removal of those trees before their approval. Protected private trees (“heritage” or “emblematic” trees) and other special protections. These trees provide critical services that are vital to many associated ecosystems and include air and water purification, soil retention, and a variety of physical and psychological benefits. The pruning and removal of such trees requires a permit from the Urban Forest Services (information and request for permission).

The equivalent county code section, which protects native oak trees on public and private land, is Tree Preservation and Protection, Chapter 19.12 of the County Code. These exemptions apply only to trees and shrubs planted and maintained by the local government, not to privately owned trees. The Sacramento City Code includes a special permit requirement to perform regulated work on or around a municipal tree or private protected tree (formerly known as “heritage trees”). These trees include particularly large trees; certain native oaks, sycamores, and chestnut trees; and other trees designated by the City Council.

Requiring developers to replace trees removed during development with native trees allows the community to continue conserving the ecosystem benefits associated with trees.