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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?

Nearly 800,000 tons of pollution are removed from the air by trees planted in urban areas. (Courtesy National Urban and Community Forestry Advisory Council)Urban forests come in many different forms and sizes. They include urban parks, street trees, landscaped boulevards, public 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 much needed environmental services. They clean air and water, conserve energy, and help to control stormwater. 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.

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, promoting sustainable and livable neighborhoods in Baltimore and Providence, R.I. (U.S. Forest Service/L.F. Chambers)

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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