Urban & Community Forestry
Investing from the Ground Up
in Resilient Communities and Trees
What is the Urban and Community Forestry (UCF) Program?
Over 90 percent of our region’s population lives in urban communities. Many urban communities depend on trees but are unaware of a tree’s economic, environmental, and social services. Urban trees along streets, backyards, parks, greenways, and gardens offer a wealth of services like enhancing public health and quality of life; sequestering carbon; providing habitat for wildlife, and cleaning the water we drink and air we breathe, to name a few.
To foster these tree benefits and services in all communities, the Urban and Community Forestry Program collaborates with partners, investing in the planning, planting, and maintaining city trees and forests. Additionally, the program supports developing educational programs, outreach products, management tools, and training to empower communities to branch out and steward their urban and community forests.
In California, Hawaiʻi, and the United States Affiliated Pacific Islands, the Urban and Community Forestry Program supports the planning and management of healthy trees and resilient communities.
Urban and community forests benefit everyone. And don’t think they are just about planting trees. It’s about giving communities a connection with the outdoors.
The canopy viewer aims to build upon our previous understanding of tree canopy in Hawaiʻi by determining its location, distribution, and equitable access. This tool can help a community design and implement sound management practices to maximize nature's benefits.
California’s urban tree canopy covers 19% of the state's urban areas. Our map viewer highlights population and environmental characteristics that may identify communities disproportionately burdened by risks that urban tree cover may help ameliorate.
- City Leaves: The Benefits of Urban Forests
- The past eight years were the warmest on record. It’s a trend more noticeable in larger cities, where forest floors and lush green canopies have been replaced by pavement and roofing.
- The Grassroots of Our Urban Forests
- Imagine your neighborhood... whether a big or small town. The trees, vegetation and green spaces are likely a part of the picture. But they probably aren't the focus.
- From Gray to Green: Serving CA Urban Spaces with More Forest Canopy
- Learn how our partners are bringing more nature into the city and inspiring the next generation to help urban communities.
- From Gray to Green: Growing Engagement Roots into the Future
- After three years of meeting virtually, the Los Angeles Urban Center for Natural Resources Sustainability (LA Urban Center) and its partners convened for the Annual Partners Meeting themed “From Gray to Green: Growing Engagement Roots into the Future.".
- Harmonizing Hawaiʻi's Forests
- The feel of the forest came to the stage thanks to musicians, animators, foresters, educators and cultural practitioners, creating Symphony of the Hawaiʻi Forests.
- Partnerships: Planting Trees, Restoring Struggling Ecosystems
- Anahuacalmecac International University Preparatory of North America, Los Angeles County’s only indigenous TK-12 school, hosted a community reforestation event at Debs Regional Park in partnership with CAL FIRE and Region 5's UCF Program.
- Climbing to New Partner Heights: Vegetation Training in the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM)
- Region 5 UCF Program funded a two-week intensive technical training, empowering local communities to remove and manage vegetation at Nan Madol, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in FSM.
- Art Meets Climate Change in Downtown LA
- During the last few months of 2022, an art exhibit deepened discussions about climate change in Los Angeles through a partnership between Avenue 50 Studio and Region 5 UCF Program.
- Urban Forests: Health, Wealth and Resilience
- An Interview with Miranda Hutten, Program Manager for the Urban and Community Forest Program in Region 5.
- Urban Meets Wild Trail
- Region 5 UCF Program designed the “Urban Meets Wild Trail,” an interactive experience at the America’s Great Outdoors site at the Los Angeles County Fair.
By partnering with states, cities, communities and nonprofit organizations, we can improve forest management, share information, develop tools, and restore our community trees and forests. These resources are vital to tackling the challenges facing all trees and communities, whether it be drought, invasive pests, equitable access, a changing climate, workforce capacity, or risk management.
State Partner Links
USDA Forest Service Partner Links
To keep you in the know, here are some resources about:
- USDA Press Release
- On September 14, 2023, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service is awarding more than $1 billion in competitive grants to plant and maintain trees, combat extreme heat and climate change, and improve access to nature in cities, towns, and suburbs—made possible by President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act (IRA).
- IRA UCF 2023 Awards List
- The Forest Service selected 385 grant proposals from entities in all 50 states, two U.S. territories, three U.S. affiliated Pacific islands, and several Tribes working to increase equitable access to trees and nature, and the benefits they provide for cooling city streets, improving air quality, and promoting food security, public health, and safety.
- Hawaiʻi UCF State Program IRA Funding Opportunity - Open Now
- Kaulunani, Hawaiʻi’s state forestry agency, currently has an open Request for Proposals to receive IRA funding for grants requesting $30,000 to $300,000. To be eligible to submit a full proposal, you must fill out a pre-proposal by October 15, 2023 and receive, by email, an invitation during the week of November 20th, 2023.
- California UCF State Program IRA Funding Opportunity - Coming Soon
- • CAL FIRE, California’s state forestry agency, will be advertising upcoming opportunities to receive IRA funds this Fall. To receive updates about these state programs’ funding opportunities in your inbox, please consider subscribing to CAL FIRE’s newsletter.
Legislation and Executive Orders
- Cooperative Forestry Assistance Act of 1978 (Section 1D)
- Section 1D, the Urban and community forestry assistance Section of the Cooperative Forestry Assistance Act of 1978, details the federal mandate of the urban and community forestry program.
- Justice40 Initiative
- Under Executive Order 14008, this initiative is named after the goal that 40% of the overall benefits of certain Federal investments will go to disadvantaged communities negatively impacted by pollution.
- National Information Center (NIC) Portal
- Through the NIC Portal, users can access web-based application systems that collect grant information for the USDA Forest Service State and Private UCF program.
- Community Accomplishments Reporting System (CARS) User Guide
- A USDS Forest Service Guide to CARS, a web-based tool used to report annual accomplishments of the UCF program, including those of its grantees.
- An official website of the United States Government used to manage federal funding contracts.
- Run by the Office of Management and Budget (OPM), the site is a centralized location for federal funding opportunities.
- USDA Forest Service & National Association of State Foresters (NASF) State Urban Forest Resilience (SUFR) Grant Portal
- Application Portal for the SUFR Grant Program, which puts out requests for proposals annually as hosted by the USDA Forest Service and the NASF.
- CAL FIRE UCF Grant Programs
- Information about CAL FIRE UCF’s grant programs and resources for grant applications.
- Kaulunani Grant Program
- Information about Hawaiʻi's Kaulunani grants programs and resources for grant applications.
- National Urban and Community Forestry Advisory Council (NUCFAC) Grant Projects
- A database of completed research and technology projects recommended by the NUCFAC for USDA Forest Service funding since 1993.
- USDA Forest Service Partnerships Funding Information
- Information and resources about grant funding for USDA Forest Service partners.
- Urban Forestry Funding Action Guide
- Region 5 State & Private Forestry Funding Resources
- Vibrant Cities Lab
- Founded in partnership between the USDA Forest Service, American Forests and the National Association of Regional Councils (NARC), Vibrant Cities Lab hosts research syntheses, case studies, and toolkits to guide city managers, policymakers and advocates build resilient urban forest programs.
- California Urban Forests Council
- Through education and outreach, community-based activities, and collaborative action, the Council promotes smart investment in green infrastructure for California communities.
- California ReLeaf
- California ReLeaf supports grassroots efforts and builds strategic partnerships across the state to protect, enhance, and grow urban and community forests.
- Western Chapter of the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA)
- Western Chapter of the ISA is a non-profit corporation that aims to promote research and education to advance the professional practice of arboriculture Arizona, California, Hawaiʻi, and Nevada.
- City Plants
- A non-profit organization running a public-private partnership between the City of Los Angeles and six other non-profit organizations, City Plants engages Angelenos by coordinating tree planting and care throughout the city.
- Pacific Islands Forestry Committee (PIFC), Western Forestry Leadership Coalition
- Comprised of forestry leaders from the United States Affiliated Pacific Islands and the USDA Forest Service’s Institute of Pacific Islands Forestry and Pacific Southwest Region, the PIFC aids the Council of Western State Foresters in developing an informed and unified approach to meet the needs of tropical forest management in the Pacific.
- Honolulu-based 501(c)3 non-profit Kupu, which means “to sprout” or “to grow” in Hawaiian, has a two-fold mission: to preserve the land while empowering youth by creating green internships and service-learning opportunities across Hawaiʻi and the Pacific region.
- Smart Trees Pacific
- Originally founded as “Friends of Hawaiʻi's Urban Forests,” Smart Trees Pacific is a 501(c)3 non-profit that seeks opportunities to increase the collective understanding, establishment, and maintenance of the urban forest across the Pacific.
- Ebiil Society
- A Palau-based non-profit, Ebiil Society focuses on the education of environmental protection and proper management of natural resources through indigenous knowledge.
- Urban Forest Ecosystems Institute (UFEI) at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo
- UFEI was developed by the Natural Resources Management & Environmental Sciences (NRES) Department faculty to address the increasing need for improved management of the urban forests in California. The institute provides applied research, extension and technology transfer, and community service and outreach. UFEI has developed several guides and tools to support urban forestry management, including SelecTree, Urban Tree Key, California Urban Tree Inventory, Urban Tree Detector, and Pacific Island Trees tool.
- Urban Tree Monitoring Training YouTube Video Series
- This five-part animated series, created by the USDA Forest Service, provides a broad overview to help viewers begin to undertake urban tree monitoring projects.
- Urban Forest Connections Webinar Series
- Hosted by the USDA Forest Service National Urban Forest Technology and Science Delivery Team since 2020, these themed webinar series discuss the latest science, practice, and policy on urban forestry and the environment.
- Watering Young Trees YouTube Video
- Watering Mature Tree YouTube Video
- Beyond Trees Network YouTube Channel
- Hosted by USDA Forest Service International Programs, Beyond Trees is a global network of urban conservation organizations and NGOs who, through education and outreach, aim to increase the living conditions in urban areas.
- Los Angeles Center for Urban Natural Resources and Sustainability Fellowships
- Through its annual Science Fellowship Program, the Center supports and showcases graduate-level research that advances urban natural resource sustainability in the Southern California region.
- California Urban Wood Academy Virtual Workshop - Available until December 2024
- Developed through a collaboration between the USDA Forest Service and CAL FIRE, this virtual Urban Wood Academy is designed to expand knowledge and engagement in the growth of urban wood utilization. It is a self-paced, 6-hour workshop that grants 5.5 ISA CEUs and SAF CFEs upon completion, as well as a strong foundation on urban wood utilization topics for incorporating urban wood into the full life cycle and planning phases of a long-term forest management action plan in your city or community.
- Urban Tree Monitoring: A Resource Guide
- Published by the USDA Forest Service Northern Research Station, this report provides in-depth guidance for urban forest managers and researchers who want to design and implement a tree monitoring project.
- Urban Tree Monitoring: A Field Guide
- A companion document to the Urban Tree Monitoring: A Resource Guide, this report provides detailed protocols for urban tree monitoring data collection, intended as a guide for urban forest managers, researchers, and citizens scientists.
- "A Tree Can Be" Marketing Toolkit
- To help share and educate the benefits of trees to all, this Arbor Day Foundation toolkit provides customizable and printable door hangers, yard signs, and flyers as well as social media images and messaging in English and Spanish.
- Stewardship Mapping and Assessment Project (STEW-MAP)
- As an empirical study of a city or region and a publicly available online database, STEW-MAP seeks to answer where, why, and how environmental stewardship groups are caring for our urbanized landscapes.
- Tree Equity Score
- A web-based application that calculates scores based on how much tree canopy and surface temperature align with income, employment, race, age and health factors across the nation.
- A collection of free tools assessing individual trees and tree canopies developed in partnership by public and private government, business, and professional organizations.
- Web portal for the National Integrated Heat Health Information System (NIHHIS) to help reduce the health, economic, and infrastructural impacts of extreme heat.
- A tree selection guide hosted by the Urban Forest Ecosystems Institute at California Polytechnic State University.
- University of California Master Gardener Program
- This program’s site, which is a public service and outreach program under the University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources, hosts California gardening resources and information about local involvement.
- University of Hawaiʻi Master Gardener Program
- This program’s site, which falls under the University’s College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources (CTAHR), hosts a range of resources about tropical horticulture in Hawaiʻi.
- Ten-Year Urban Forestry Action Plan and Five-Year Benchmark Accomplishment Report
- Hawaiʻi Urban and Community Forestry Resources (Kaulunani)
- This collection of links, put together by the state of Hawaiʻi's UCF program, includes content about invasive species, health and tree peer-reviewed articles, partner organizations and more.
- Urban Wood Partner Empowerment Package Toolkit
- The Urban Wood Economy, Inc and #forestproud created this portfolio of digital assets to help promote and showcase urban and community wood to new audiences. The toolkit includes 2 promotional films, social media content, blogs, partner interviews, and a list of available resources covering urban wood—all free and available for use.
- Tree Identification Tools List (iTree)
- Tree Health Metrics: A Brief Field Guide (The Nature Conservancy and USDA Forest Service)
- Resources Related to Tree Planting (California ReLeaf)
- Tree Planting Guide (Vibrant Cities Lab)
- Climate and Health Action Guide (Vibrant Cities Lab)
- Trees and Drought Resources (California Urban Forests Council)
- California Tree and Drought Resources (Save Our Water)
- Resources for Educators about Arbor Week (California ReLeaf)
|Miranda Hutten||Program Manager||(707) 515-5408|
|Alicia Sanchez Scott||Assistant Program Manager||(805) 450-8369|
|Laura Wolf||Assistant Program Manager||(720) 830-6407|
|Pauline Ordonez||Program Specialist||(661) 481-1083|
|Kathryn Williams||Grant Management Specialist||(707) 980-3927|
|Jennipher Himmelmann||Resource Assistant|