Urban Forestry

Trees and the urban forest provide a variety of important benefits in the urban environment. Environmental benefits include removing carbon from the atmosphere, reducing energy use, improving air quality, moderating stormwater flows, protecting water quality, improving economic sustainability, and providing habitat for wildlife. In addition to the health benefits realized through the protection and promotion of the environment, trees and urban forests also support the physical and mental health of residents. The urban forest can play a role in meeting carbon reduction mandates required by the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006. In short, trees can improve the environment, health, and quality of life in our urban environments where Californians live, work, and play.

In order to establish and maintain the stream of benefits potentially provided by an urban forest, a community's trees need to be well planned-for and managed over the long term. Unlike most other urban infrastructure, the value of the urban forest generally increases over time. Not only are trees and urban forests critical to the community's economic well-being and overall quality of life, but they are an important strategy for addressing chronic disease and obesity.

OPR provides the following information for local governments to plan for a healthy urban forest that optimizes the benefits urban forests can provide to the environment, public health, economy, and more.

Benefits Information

Urban Forestry Organizations

Resources: Programs and Grants

State and Federal Resources

Resources for Local Governments

  • CA Urban Forests Council Management Plan Toolkit : The Toolkit website can be used by anyone managing a large population of trees in or near urban areas. The website is intended to help urban forest managers develop management plans that are appropriate for their urban forests.
  • ISA Tree Ordinance Guidelines : Tree ordinances are among the tools used by communities striving to attain a healthy, vigorous, and well-managed community forest.