Tree Canopy Preservation

​Tree Canopy Preservation Program (TCPP)

Charlotte's Tree Canopy Preservation Program (TCPP) seeks to acquire and conserve land within Charlotte with the goal of preserving and protecting one the Queen City's most important natural resources: its nationally recognized tree canopy. 

The City of Charlotte’s tree ordinance​ allows for payment in lieu of protecting trees on site in certain commercial development situations. The money collected from the ordinance goes into a fund that is mandated for the acquisition and preservation of land to ensure that our tree canopy is maintained for future generations. 

The acquisitions under this program are voluntary, and staff works with property owners to acquire land identified in cooperation with local organizations like the Catawba Lands Conservancy and other municipal agencies like Mecklenburg County Park & Recreation. Once acquired, properties are typically made subject to conservation easements or other legal forms of use restrictions in order to ensure that the tree canopy is protected.

TCPP initially developed with a focus solely targeting large areas of land for tree canopy conservation. However, with the high land cost close to the city center and many projects paying into the fund from that area, TCPP has evolved.  The program is seeking smaller urban sites while still working to purchase large properties for conservation. These urban sites will become part of the Urban Arboretum Trail and will include a strong public use focus to highlight the benefits of trees while also allowing for flexibility for other important community elements (art, history, character, placemaking, etc.). 

Property owners interested in participating in the Tree Canopy Preservation Program can fill out a TCPP inquiry form.​


The size of the properties is determined by our stewardship partners' criteria and is usually forty five acres or larger, but smaller properties that can be assembled or that are adjacent to conserved areas or parks will also be considered. With the addition of the Urban Arboretum Program, smaller parcels without structures will be considered. 

The preference is for properties that are at least partially forested, with no structures of any kind.  Properties that are not wooded will be considered based on partnership and replanting opportunities.  Any structures on properties may be subject to removal or demolition at the seller’s expense prior to closing.

The program is limited to acquisitions of property within the City limits or the City's extraterritorial jurisdiction (ETJ).

The City bases all negotiated purchase prices on an appraisal report with conclusions of fair market value.  The program is completely voluntary, so prices are negotiated with the sellers to reach an amount agreed upon by all parties, subject to City Council approval.

There are a number of steps for acquisitions required by City policy and state regulations.  There is no typical timeline as the findings in due diligence may require additional research, and stewardship and conservation partners are involved in each of the acquisitions.  However, in general, acquisitions can be expected to take at least six to eight months.  

The City is a qualifying entity for non-cash charitable contributions, calculated as the difference in the value of the property according to an appraisal and the sales price.  Sellers should consult with their accountant or tax professional for all specific questions.


Erin Oliverio
Landscape Management Division Manager

Conservation ​easement properties


Tree Canopy Preservation Program ​
online inquiry form​​

Please use Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome