Urban and Community Forestry

People sitting on benches and walking in a city park

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

  • “green infrastructure” for managing streamwater run off
  • Improved human health and well-being
  • Reduced air and water pollution
  • Reduced residential and business energy use
  • Corridors for wildlife
  • Reduced potential effects of climate change


Research and examples of how urban trees can improve the livability of our cities & communities


The Vibrant Cities Lab website (vibrantcitieslab.com) provides research and real examples of how urban trees improve human health, economic development, equity, water and air quality, and many other topics.  Check out its Urban Forestry Toolkit for step-by-step guides for implementing urban forestry in your community.


Learn more about research on the benefits of urban trees and forests (a website created by Dr. Kathleen Wolf and colleagues at the University of Washington, supported in part by the U.S. Forest Service)


The Forest Service’s Urban & Community Forestry (UCF) program works closely with state forestry agencies and other partners to increase community awareness of the importance of trees in sustaining healthy and viable cities, communities, and neighborhoods; improve the social, natural, and economic environment for urban and community areas; and enable the development of self-sufficient local urban and community forestry programs.  The Forest Service provides financial and some technical assistance to state forestry agencies for program delivery.


Three states are covered by the FS’s Alaska and Pacific Northwest Regions: Alaska, Oregon, and Washington.  Each of these states has a vibrant UCF program, which provides technical advice and training (ex: community forestry planning, tree inventories and assessments, municipal code development, and tree pruning and maintenance), coordinates the Tree Cities USA programs, and publishes informative websites and newsletters.  An advisory council, with members representing a broad range of professional experience and geographic locations, provides guidance to each state UCF program.

 Street trees in downtown Portland, OR 



For additional information on the Forest Service's Urban and Community Forestry program in Alaska, Oregon, and Washington, contact Stephen Baker, Urban Forestry Coordinator, at stephen.baker@usda.gov.