By the Numbers: 1,000+ Trees Have Been Lost in Seattle This Year

and Counting
July 11, 2024
Download the Data

Seattle is cutting more trees, faster, than ever before, and their own data proves it.

We aggregated tree removal notices filed by arborist companies and found 1,000+ trees with trunks over 6” in diameter removed from private property since the beginning of the year. Of these, 121 were extremely large trees with trunks measuring over 2 feet in diameter. 90% of those large trees were removed specifically for construction and many were in frontline communities, including Beacon Hill and South Park.

Here is our table of every tree removed:

Tree removal data from the City of Seattle. Download the data (above link) to see the full analysis.

There are more trees being lost than the ones on this list.

We used SDCI's own Notice of Tree Work data set, which show just legal removals on private property. Many trees are removed illegally, with no notice filed. Even more, trees in the public planting strip are tracked separately through the Seattle Department of Transportation, which reports through our public records requests that between 300-800 public trees are removed each year.  

Q&A on Tree Removal Data

Q: What's a frontline community?

A: The definition from the Vermont Agency of Administration sums it up best:

Frontline communities are those that experience the “first and worst” consequences of climate change.

Q: What do the Tier numbers mean?  

A: The Tier numbers indicate size:

  • Tier 2: trunks 24" in diameter or greater
  • Tier 3:  trunks 12-24"
  • Tier 4:  trunks 6-12" (still significant — a 30 year old oak has a trunk diameter of 7-12"!)
  • Tier 1:  200 remnant trees from the now-defunct Heritage tree program.

Q: What does "Exceptional" on the tree notices mean?

A: "Exceptional" is a leftover category from the previous tree code, referring to trees with trunks 30" in diameter or bigger.

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