Tree Management Plan Impacts Campus Climate Commitments

SUNY Brockport has an aspirational goal of maintaining a zero net loss of tree canopy on our campus through the preservation of existing trees and new tree plantings.

The total area of the main campus is 496.2 acres. The main uses of our land breaks down as follows (given in acres):

  • Grass = 210.1
  • Forest = 163.4
  • Urban = 82.8
  • Wetland = 33.7
  • Water = 6.1

Because trees are an invaluable asset to our campus community, the Office of Facilities Maintenance and Operations strives to maintain, preserve, and enhance the forest/tree population.  We recognize that every tree on campus is valuable for offering environmental, health, social, and economic benefits at the individual, community, and social level.

When a tree develops problems, it is difficult to decide when to remove it.  Dying trees that are located in isolated areas and do not pose a danger to property and people, can be allowed to die in place without our intervention.  Dead trees serve as places for various species of woodpeckers and other wildlife to find food and a place to nest.  But trees that have structural defects that could potentially cause injury to people or damage property need immediate attention.  This is particularly true for many of the ash trees on our campus that have been killed by the emerald ash borer.

In all cases, safety concerns will receive the highest priority. The main criteria for removal is listed below:

  • Safety Hazard
  • Damaged trees from natural causes
  • Trees growing in inappropriate places such as too close to structures, sidewalks, or parking lots.
  • Hazard to utility lines (both buried and overhead)
  • Interferes with construction of facilities

All construction/renovation projects are carefully reviewed in the planning and design process to consider potential impacts on existing trees, damage prevention and/or mitigation approaches, or the necessity of tree removal and replacement.

Tree Replacement

Our goal is to ensure up to three trees will be planted for every tree removed.  However, the location of the replacement tree(s) may not always be in the same location as the tree removed.  Attention to the proper selection, planting, and maintenance of new trees is pursued to achieve long-term risk reduction.  Maintenance (pruning) is conducted on an as needed basis.  Also, every spring the Grounds Team participates in the Village of Brockport Arbor Day activities.  Contributing both labor and equipment to plant trees around the village.

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Kevin Rice:

Posted: November 15, 2021