People and Forests
Urban and community forests include all publicly and privately owned trees within an urban or community area, such as public gardens, street trees, urban parks, landscaped boulevards and river and coastal promenades, among others. They make up an important component of America’s green infrastructure, supporting the health and function of cities and towns through the services that they provide. Acknowledging the ecological, economic, and social benefits of these forests, the Forest Service is dedicated to helping cities transition to a sustainable future.
The benefits that forests, grasslands, and other natural areas provide us are known as ecosystem services. It can be easy to take these free services for granted. The Forest Service is contributing to improved valuation and preservation of these services. By working on markets for ecosystem services and measuring and monitoring them, the Forest Service aims to improve decision-making that affects the use of ecosystem services.
Outdoor recreation contributes greatly to the well-being of Americans – getting outside has been proven to have psychological, physical, social, and economic benefits. Understanding its important role in providing recreational opportunities, the Forest Service carefully assesses the status of, and trends in, outdoor recreation. In order to continue providing recreation opportunities that citizens value, we need to understand how demands on our natural resources will change in the future and manage accordingly.