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Urban Forests

Trees help cities

The benefits derived from urban trees provide a return three times greater than tree-care costs, as much as $2,500 in environmental services such as reduced heating and cooling costs during a tree’s lifetime. Trees are vital to the urban landscape, but they are under stress. Find out how you can help.

Volunteers work during a MillionTreesNYC fall planting day in New York City.

What are urban forests?

A photo of Baltimore’s Oliver Neighborhood is a mix of occupied and abandoned rowhouses. The U.S. Forest Service is working with partners to host the Carbon Challenge green building design contest.

Over 130 million acres of America’s forests are located right in our cities and towns. Urban forests come in many different forms and sizes. They include urban parks, street trees, landscaped boulevards, gardens, river and coastal promenades, greenways, river corridors, wetlands, nature preserves, shelter belts of trees, and working trees at former industrial sites. Urban forests, through planned connections of green spaces, form the green infrastructure on which communities depend. Green infrastructure works at multiple levels, from the neighborhood to the metro area to the regional landscape.

Why are urban forests important?

Urban forests are dynamic ecosystems that provide critical benefits to people and wildlife. They help to filter air and water, control stormwater, conserve energy, and provide animal habitat and shade. They add form, structure, and beauty to urban design. By reducing noise and providing places to recreate, urban forests strengthen social cohesion, spur community revitalization, and add economic value to our communities.

A photo of Baltimore’s Oliver Neighborhood is a mix of occupied and abandoned rowhouses. The U.S. Forest Service is working with partners to host the Carbon Challenge green building design contest.

What is Urban and Community Forestry? 

We provide technical, financial, research and educational services to local government, nonprofit organizations, community groups, educational institutions and tribal governments. Contact your state forestry agency.

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