What are Tree Recompense Calculations?

Municipal tree recompense calculations are used to determine the compensation or replacement requirements when trees are removed or damaged as part of development, construction, or other activities. These calculations are typically put in place to help mitigate the loss of trees and their associated environmental and community benefits. Here are some reasons why municipalities use recompense calculations:

  • Environmental Conservation: Trees provide essential environmental benefits, including oxygen production, carbon sequestration, and habitat for wildlife. Municipalities want to ensure that these benefits are conserved and, when possible, replaced.
  • Urban Canopy Preservation: Maintaining the urban tree canopy helps improve air quality, reduce heat island effects, and enhance the overall quality of life in a community. Recompense calculations encourage the preservation of trees and the planting of new ones to replace those that are removed.
  • Biodiversity and Habitat Preservation: Trees contribute to local biodiversity by providing food and shelter for wildlife. Calculations for recompense may include requirements to plant native trees that can support local ecosystems.
  • Aesthetic and Landscape Values: Trees contribute to the aesthetic and landscape value of an area. Replacing removed trees helps maintain the visual appeal and character of a neighborhood or community.
  • Erosion Control and Stormwater Management: Trees help prevent soil erosion and manage stormwater runoff. Replacing trees in specific areas can assist in controlling erosion and managing water flow.
  • Climate Change Mitigation: Trees play a role in mitigating climate change by absorbing and storing carbon dioxide. Recompense calculations can factor in the carbon sequestration potential of trees to offset carbon emissions from development activities.
  • Public and Community Values: Local communities often value their trees for various reasons, and recompense calculations can be used to reflect these values by requiring compensation for tree loss.
  • Regulatory Compliance: Many municipalities have zoning and land use regulations that require the replacement of trees that are removed due to development or construction activities. Recompense calculations ensure that these regulations are followed.
  • Environmental Impact Mitigation: In cases where tree removal may have a significant environmental impact, recompense calculations help determine the necessary actions to mitigate these impacts, which may include tree replacement.
  • Planning for Sustainable Development: Incorporating tree recompense calculations into development projects encourages sustainable practices and helps balance development with environmental and community interests.


The specific calculations and requirements for tree recompense can vary from one municipality to another. They often take into account factors such as the size and species of the trees being removed, the location and purpose of the removal, and the environmental and community benefits the trees provide. Developers and property owners are typically responsible for complying with these calculations and may be required to plant new trees, pay fees, or take other actions to offset the tree loss. This ensures that tree canopy and associated benefits are conserved and enhanced as communities continue to develop and grow.