Urban and Community Forestry Program
Over 130 million acres of America’s forests are located right in our cities and towns. Urban and community forests come in many different shapes and sizes. They include urban parks, street trees, landscaped boulevards, gardens, river and coastal promenades, greenways, river corridors, wetlands, nature preserves, shelter belts of trees, and working trees at former industrial sites. Urban and community forests, through planned connections of green spaces, form the green infrastructure on which communities depend. They are dynamic ecosystems that provide critical benefits to people and wildlife.
The Urban and Community Forestry Program supports the planning and management of healthy trees and forests in the communities where we live, work, learn, and play. Through partnerships, we invest from the ground up to establish, restore, maintain, and improve our community trees and forests.
- Provide educational, technical, and financial assistance to: improve understanding of the benefits of urban and community forests, enhance technical skills and arboricultural practices, and encourage communities and landowners to maintain and expand forest cover.
- Promote the establishment of demonstration projects to illustrate the benefits of maintaining and creating forest cover and/or the utility of new tools and technologies.
- Identify and address emerging issues and technology and science delivery needs.
- Elevate regional priorities of national significance.
Healthy trees and forests in our communities improve quality of life by:
- reducing summer peak temperatures;
- improving air quality;
- reducing stormwater runoff;
- conserving energy;
- enhancing property values;
- offering wildlife habitat;
- supporting green jobs; and
- strengthening human health, wellness, and social connections in neighborhoods.
To learn more about these and other hot topics in urban and community forestry, check out these resources:
Vibrant Cities Lab – A one-stop-shop for research, case studies, and toolkits that help community managers, policymakers, and advocates building thriving urban and community forestry programs.
National Urban Forest Technology & Science Delivery Team – This USDA Forest Service team delivers quality social, ecological and economic science, technology and information to improve the long-term sustainability of urban and community ecosystems. Access recordings of the monthly Urban Forest Connections webinar series, current and past issues of the quarterly The Cross-Pollinator science synthesis publication, or sign up for the mailing list to receive updates straight to your inbox.
Denver Urban Field Station – The Denver Urban Field Station (DUFS) is a collaborative research and practice unit of the USDA Forest Service Rocky Mountain Research Station. It explores the connections between people and nature and the role of vegetation in semi-arid cities, towns, and developed regions of the Intermountain West and Great Plains.
Data and Decision Tools
The USDA Forest Service provides long-term data, science-based models, and decision tools that together serve as a critical information platform for any community’s planning and analysis efforts.
i-Tree Software Suite - Quantifies forest structure and the environmental benefits that trees provide.
Urban Tree Canopy Assessment – Assists communities to measure, monitor, and improve tree cover over time, and combat threats that can lead to tree canopy loss.
Stewarship Mapping and Asessment (STEW-MAP) - Helps uncover what stewardship capacity and connections exist across a landscape.
Urban Forest Inventory & Analysis Program (Urban FIA) - Monitors forests of the nation's census-defined urban areas with a special emphasis on the largest cities. It combines urban forest inventories with landowner surveys and an assessment of urban wood processing and use.
National Urban and Community Forestry Program – Learn more about the national program, including information about the National Urban and Community Forestry Advisory Council (NUCFAC), Ten-Year Urban Forestry Action Plan (2016-2026), and national grant opportunities.
Learn more and connect with key contacts and grant opportunites in your state: