Urban and Community Forestry

Community Forests

We work to ensure more livable communities by caring for trees and forests where people live, work, play

Douglas-fir dwarf mistletoeIntroduction: Urban and Community Forestry (UCF) is a cooperative program of the US Forest Service that focuses on the stewardship of urban natural resources; raises awareness of the importance of trees in sustaining healthy cities, communities, and neighborhoods; improves the social, natural, and economic environment; and enables the development of self-sufficient local programs.

The urban forest: Urban forests broadly include urban parks, street trees, landscaped boulevards, public gardens, river and coastal promenades, greenways, river corridors, wetlands, nature preserves, natural areas, shelter belts of trees, and working trees at industrial brownfield sites. Urban and Community Forestry is the management of a community’s forest resources to enhance quality of life.

Benefits of urban forests: Over 80% of people in the US live in cities, towns, or rural communities. Most of those people experience nature primarily in our urban and community forests. These trees, parks, green belts, and other resources provide many benefits including:

  • Reduced stormwater run off
  • Improved human health and well-being
  • Reduced residential and business energy use
  • Corridors for wildlife
  • Reduced effects of climate change

Learn more about the benefits of urban trees and forests at the Green Cities: Good Health website, a partnership between the University of Washington and the Forest Service.

The urban forestry network: The Forest Service provides technical, financial, research, and educational services to local government, non-profit organizations, community groups, educational institutions, and tribal governments. The program is delivered through its legislated partners, the state forestry agencies, in 59 states and US territories, and numerous other partners.

The Rocky Mountain Region: Five states – Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota, and Wyoming – comprise the Rocky Mountain Region and are crucial partners in delivery of the UCF program. Each of these states has a vibrant UCF program, which provides technical assistance and training, coordinates Tree City USA programs, educates citizens and professionals, and much more. For more information, visit each of the state program websites listed below.