An important instrument for the preservation of trees in residential areas is the so-called tree protection statute. In order to strengthen the tree population, to take account of the increased public interest and to adapt the tree protection statutes to changes in the legal basis, the city administration has submitted a new version of the tree protection statutes to the political bodies. It will be discussed in the specialist committees and district councils from November and is to be adopted by the Bonn City Council in December 2023.
Due to settlement expansions, redensification, traffic and infrastructure projects, and other conflicts of use, tree sites have to give way time and again. "To meet these challenges, we want to strengthen tree protection with the help of the new tree protection statutes," explains Bonn's Head of Environment Helmut Wiesner. "Especially in view of the advancing climate change, the necessary adaptations to it and the loss of biodiversity, it is of great importance to preserve the existing tree population as best as possible."
While currently deciduous trees are protected from a trunk circumference of 100 centimeters and conifers from a trunk circumference of 150 centimeters (measured at a height of one meter above the ground), in the future the circumference of all trees will be set at 100 centimeters. In addition, the new tree protection statute places non-commercial fruit trees under the protection of the statute. For trees with a trunk circumference of more than 200 centimeters, two replacement plantings - these may only be deciduous trees - must be made in the future. Previously, only one replacement planting was required for each tree felled, regardless of trunk circumference.
"With the updated tree protection statutes, we are strengthening the tree population with its diverse ecological functions in the urban area," explains David Baier, head of the Office for Environment and Urban Greening. "We also want to make people more aware of the importance of trees," adds Bettina Molly, head of the Lower Nature Conservation Authority.
This is because trees fulfill many ecosystem services and play an important role for the city's climate, urban biodiversity and also the cityscape. They cool the air, sequester carbon dioxide, produce oxygen, and help maintain and improve the urban climate. They mitigate the effects of climate change in the city by providing shade and purifying the air. Trees provide habitat and food for a variety of animals.
Maintaining healthy trees on public lands and private properties is therefore of great importance for a livable city.
With the new tree protection statutes, the fees for a felling permit will also be updated and adjusted to the rate of inflation. In the future, a felling permit will cost 60 euros basic fee, plus 15 euros for each tree. Previously, the basic fee was 44 euros, and each tree cost 11 euros. The fees have not been adjusted since 2012.
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