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Our research demonstrates new ways that trees add value to communities, converting results into financial terms to stimulate more investment in trees.

Pacific Southwest Research Station
800 Buchanan Street
West Annex Building
Albany, CA 94710-0011

(510) 559-6300

United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service. USDA logo which links to the department's national site. Forest Service logo which links to the agency's national site.

Programs and Projects

(RWU-4952)

Center for Urban Forest Research

What's New Archive

See a listing of our latest products and projects here.

Summer 2008 News Brief: Catch up with our latest research quickly by reading our summer News Brief! [PDF 200 kB] If you'd like to receive future News Briefs, sign up here.

Our Forest Service colleague Geoffrey Donovan has been studying the impacts of trees on property values in Portland. Catch a first glimpse of the results in Community Tree Connections, the newsletter of the Oregon Dept. of Forestry Urban and Community Forestry Program. "On average, trees add $7,020 to the price of a house in Portland, which is equivalent to increasing the size of the house by 106 square feet."

The Urban Forest Greenhouse Gas Reporting Protocol moves forward with the California Climate Action Registry! The Registry has made some changes to our final draft of the Protocol and released their version for a period of review and public comment. We hope you'll take the time to review it and share it widely. Comments are due August 4 and can be addressed to policy@climateregistry.org. The California Registry will hold a public workshop on Tuesday, July 29 at 1 PM - 4 PM (PDT) at the Cal/EPA Headquarters in Sacramento to discuss the Urban Forest Project Reporting Protocol and answer questions.

Urban Forest Greenhouse Gas Reporting Protocol: We've completed the final draft of the Urban Forest Protocol and have presented it to the California Climate Action Registry for their review. They will hold a public comment period this summer and then will vote to adopt during their August board meeting. We'll provide the details of the public comment period when they become available.

Read about the "Greening of America" in the Washington Post. "Spurred by visions of their cities frying in a warmer world, mayors around the nation have grasped a green solution: trees!"

The newest volume in our national Tree Guide series, the Temperate Interior West Community Tree Guide: Benefits, Costs, and Strategic Planting, is available online and in print! Residents of this region will be interested to learn more that a large shade tree in their area can provide up to $75 in net benefits each year. The Tree Guide includes helpful information for customizing the data in the report to suit your location and offers many ideas for maximizing the ecosystem services provided by trees. If you live in this region and are interested in getting the media involved in understanding the benefits of trees, our press release can be used to create interest!

The latest release in our national Tree Guide series, the Interior West Community Tree Guide: Benefits, Costs, and Strategic Planting, is available online and in print! Residents of this very hot and dry western region will be interested to learn more about the benefits that trees provide. Urban forest managers and other tree lovers will find great tips on making use of the data in the Tree Guide to determine the ecosystem services provided by your own city trees. If you live in this region and are interested in getting the media involved in understanding the benefits of trees, our press release can be used to create interest!

San Francisco Bay Area State of the Urban Forest Final Report: We've just released our study of the urban tree canopy of the San Francisco Bay area. The report had three goals: (1) to describe the historic changes to the region's urban canopy cover and amount of impervious surface, (2) to quantify the value of ecosystem services the current forest provides, and (3) to estimate future benefits based on possible expansion of the urban forest. It's full of interesting information for Bay area residents and anyone who would like to know more about the benefits of trees. For a quick review, read our one-page summary.

Unraveling the Debate: Some of you may have been following recent controversies in the media regarding the role of trees in the fight against global climate change. Read our take on the subject in the fall issue of California Trees. "Trees and alternative energy sources are not mutually exclusive—both have a place in reducing carbon dioxide emissions..."

The Benefits of Trees in Honolulu: The latest in our series of municipal forest resource analyses is available. Our indepth study of Honolulu's urban forest showed that the majestic and colorful trees of Hawaii's capital city are providing residents with nearly a 300% return on investment, offering approximately $2.98 in benefits for every $1 spent to care for them!

A Green Thumbs-Up for Trees: Read up on volunteer and citizen efforts to plant trees in cities across the country in the Philadelphia Inquirer. "Digging in to Cool the Planet" has a lot of good information about trees and their environmental benefits, including the role of tree in fighting global climate change.

The Northeast Community Tree Guide: Benefits, Costs and Strategic Planting has been released! Be sure to read the latest in our nationwide series to learn more about the ecosystem services and other benefits trees provide to residents of the Northeast. Copies can be downloaded or printed versions can be requested. To learn more about the urban forest of New York, the reference city for this Tree Guide, and how we used STRATUM to determine the benefits there, read our Municipal Forest Resource Analysis. For a quick summary and an example of STRATUM in action, check out "Maybe Only God Can Make a Tree, but Only People Can Put a Price on It" from the New York Times [PDF 450 kB]. "It seems like a Zen koan: how much is a New York City tree worth?..."

We've moved! On Tuesday, November 13, we officially took up residence in a new building with our Forest Service colleagues! Please adjust your contact information as follows:

Center for Urban Forest Research
PSW, USDA Forest Service
1731 Research Park Dr.
Davis, CA 95618
Phone: 530.759.1726
Fax: 530.759.1409

Feel free to stop by and see our new home when you're in the area!

Uprooted: Read about the struggling status [PDF 800 kB] of urban forests and hear from Forest Service scientists in a recent issue of Time magazine. "Trees have always struggled to survive in cities, and now they're losing the fight. That's bad for them--and for us."

Jim Simpson has been the recipient of a second award this year! On November 2nd, the California Urban Forest Council awarded Dr. Simpson, the Center's forest meteorologist, the Durrell Maugh Founders Award in recognition of his contribution to education. Click here to read up on Jim's work. Congratulations Jim!

Urban Trees and Greenhouse Gas Reductions: We've finished the outline [PDF 150 kB] of the Urban Forest Greenhouse Gas Reporting Protocols with the help of many of you. To everyone on our Steering, Technical Advisory, and Stakeholders Committees--we greatly appreciate for the support and the feedback! We're looking forward to working with you on the next phase. For more information on the Protocols and the role of urban forests in fighting global climate change, see our Protocols website. Check back often for more information!

STRATUM and New York City: To learn more about the benefits that trees are providing in New York City, read our newest Municipal Forest Resource Analysis [PDF 1.4 MB]. For a quick summary and an example of STRATUM in action, check out "Maybe Only God Can Make a Tree, but Only People Can Put a Price on It" from the New York Times [PDF 450 kB] on April 18th. "It seems like a Zen koan: how much is a New York City tree worth?..."

Turning over a new leaf at the EPA: Read more about the Urban Forests for Clean Air Project, a new way to think about solving our air quality problems, in the Sacramento Bee. [PDF 29kB] The Sacramento Metropolitan Air Quality Management District is working with CUFR "to include trees in the federally mandated air quality plan it's sending the EPA early next year."

News Brief: Catch up with our latest research quickly by reading our summer News Brief! [PDF 200 kB] If you'd like to receive future News Briefs, sign up here.

STRATUM and Boise: To learn more about the return on investment that trees are providing in Boise, read our newest Municipal Forest Resource Analysis [PDF 1.5 MB].

Leafy, green, and good : Read Greg McPherson's Op-Ed [PDF 17 kB] in the Los Angeles Times for a discussion of the role of urban trees in combatting global warming. "Fighting climate change is complicated — but the benefits of trees in cities are not an illusion..."

New Tree Guides: Be sure to check out the latest editions to our Community Tree Guide: Benefits, Costs, and Strategic Planting series for the Midwest, the Piedmont, and the Coastal Plain. If you would like to order printed copies, information is available here.

Urban Forests and Climate Change: Soon California residents will be able to register urban forest projects through the California Climate Action Registry. Read our project summary [PDF 77 kB] describing the Urban Forestry Protocols. Have you heard talk in the media recently questioning the value of trees in fighting climate change? Read our take on the subject in the June issue of Arborist News.

Urban Forestry and Urban Greening Journal: Read about the viability of urban trees in a carbon credit market in an article by Melissa McHale, Greg McPherson, and Ingrid Burke [PDF 262 kB] in the Urban Forestry and Urban Greening 6: 49-60.

New Research Summary: Why Shade Streets? The Unexpected Benefit. See the latest summary of our research. View PDF document [3.18 MB]

Renewable Resources Journal: Read about the state of urban forestry in North America in an article by Greg McPherson in the Renewable Resources Journal 24(3): 8-12.

Los Angeles' Million Tree Initiative: Listen in on a radio show with Greg McPherson as he talks about the Million Tree Initiative on the Earth and Sky radio series.

i-Tree Release Date: August 1, 2006. Attend the i-Tree debut session, i-Tree - New Technologies to Assess Your Urban Forest: The Minneapolis Experience, at the ISA Annual Conference in Minneapolis.

In His Own Words A Conversation With James R. Geiger - Maximizing the Nation's Benefits from Urban Forests. Read this Special Feature in the latest Forest Service Sustainable Development e-News.

New Municipal Forest Resource Analysis Available.  See report:  City of Charleston, South Carolina Municipal Forest Resource Analysis. View PDF document [1.40MB]

New Research Summary: "Trees - the Air Pollution Solution" See the latest summary of our air quality research. View PDF document [1.17MB]

Dr. McPherson's April 25, 2006 Conference Call Presentation. i-Tree: Demonstrating that Trees Pay Us Back! See how the new i-Tree tool, integrates four urban and community forestry tools: UFORE, STRATUM, MCTI, and the Storm Damage Assessment Protocol. See: www.itreetools.org. View presentation

New Newsletter: Fall 2005⁄Winter 2006. Top story - "Demystifying Reference Cities- the power behind STRATUM." What do you do if you are NOT a reference city? Find out the answer. Click here to sign up to receive future issues electronically. - View PDF document

Getting More Than We Pay For - City Trees Magazine highlights our Center's work on STRATUM throughout the United States. Read the article.

UC Davis is Testing 14 Elm Varieties - New disease resistant varities are being tested as part of a national elm renaissance. Read the article.

New Newsletter: Summer 2005.  Top story - "Making Research Work for You, the Story of Greenprint."  Learn why it is so important to combine scientific research with marketing the value of trees to local elected officials.  Click here to sign up to receive future issues electronically. - View PDF document [0.62MB]

Honolulu, HI new reference city:  The city of Honolulu has joined Boise as a new reference city.  Honolulu will represent the Tropical Climate Region.  Work will begin in late September to collect field data. Read the Honolulu Project profile...[pdf]

Boise, ID new reference city.  The city of Boise has been selected as the reference city for the Temperate Interior West climate region.  Work began earlier this month to collect the field data.  Over the next several months our Center will run calculations to determine tree values for energy conservation, air pollutant removal, stormwater retention, and property value increase.  Other cities within the climate region can obtain customized results using STRATUM.
Read Boise Tree Canopy Survey article...[pdf]
Read Feds come to City of Trees article...[pdf]

New Newsletter.  Top story: "Fire Prevention in the Wildland-Urban Interface. What we've learned." See what lessons two case studies have taught us. Also in this issue: "Regional Urban Forest Canopy Cover Analyses." Our preliminary results already reveal some interesting facts about expanding developments.  Click here to sign up to receive future issues electronically. - View PDF document [0.67MB]

Lessons learned from hazardous fuels treatment projects.  See what we found when we took a look back at two projects conducted in the early 1990's.
Read Shingletown PDF Document...
Read Incline Village PDF Document...

State of the Urban Forest Report for the San Francisco Bay Area.  This interim progress report describes the region's urban forest structure and quantifies the value of ecosystem services it produces.  Full report due Spring 2006. - View PDF document [1.52MB] - Download file [2MB]

Some Quick Updates.  See a recap of our STRATUM workshop held March 28-29, and updates on STRATUM's future, i-Tree, and our Reference City program.  - View PDF document [0.14MB]

Natural Inquirer Features Urban Forestry.  The Natural Inquirer is a middle school science education journal.  This edition is devoted entirely to urban forestry.  See our science and scientists in action on pages 17, 38, and 45.  Go to: View the document.

Trees Equal Clean Air According to New Research.  Arbor Day is the perfect time to plant more trees according to Dr. McPherson.  See Arbor Day press release. - View PDF document [0.02MB]

What a Difference a Tree Makes. 
Dr. McPherson featured in the Backyard Habitat section of the April-May 2005 National Wildlife Magazine. Read the article...

Growing Need is Seen for Big Trees.
"Greenprint" program hopes to double the shade canopy in a six county area around Sacramento, CA.
Read Sacramento Bee article...

Benefits of Trees on NPR. Hear how important benefits of trees are to quality of life in communities on Capitol Public Radio in Sacramento.  On April 12, Dr. Greg McPherson, and staff from the Sacramento Tree Foundation, discussed the benefits of trees and the importance planting additional trees while also caring for the existing ones. Listen to the broadcast now!

New Newsletter.  Top story: "Replace field surveys with AVIRIS infrared imagery. Can we?"  No more field surveys.  See how AVIRIS can work for you.  Also in this issue:  "Fitting tree into the planning process."  We take another look at how to do parking lots right. Click here to sign up to receive future issues electronically. - View PDF document [2.69MB] - Download file [2.49MB]

Tree Growth Visualization. See a tree grow in animation, and watch the benefits accrue. Download AVI File [20.1MB]- This file is packaged as a compressed zip. Please extract the file to a folder on your computer and open file tree_anime.avi. - View PDF document [0.64MB]

New article by Dr. McPherson:  Benefits of Trees - Watershed, Energy, and Air.  Published in the Arborsit News, December 2004. - View PDF document [0.61MB] - Download file [2.59MB]

Keeping Trees Saves Cash:  Bangor Daily News reports on research from our Center.  By Kathy Carter, Orono Tree Board.  View Article

New Newsletter availableThis Special Edition is devoted entirely to air quality.  Find out about the pollutants, how "green" cleans, unlocking the mystery of deposition, "green" economics, and fitting trees into the regulatory process.  Click here to sign up to receive future issues electronically.  - View PDF document [0.7MB]

Desert Southwest Community Tree Guide Available! This new Tree Guide identifies and describes the benefits and costs of planting trees in the desert southwest climate region. It is the sixth in a series of Tree Guides for the United States. - View PDF document [3.56MB] - Download file [7.61MB]

i-Tree/STRATUM Two Day Workshop, March 28-29, 2005 - learn to use this computer-based resource management tool to assess your street tree resource, develop policy, and set priorities.  Limited to 30 participants, so register today.  Workshop     Find out more about i-Tree/STRATUM

A new feature of our website:  We have just added powerpoints of all of our speeches.  Click on Upcoming Speeches to view our latest talks. 

Dr. McPherson in the News.  The San Luis Obispo (CA) Tribune features our own Dr. McPherson in an article about storm damaged trees. Read the Article

Ventura County Star publishes story on our new fire software: " Software lets users asess fire vulnerability."  Homeowners can learn how to keep their back yards safe.  Read the Article

New Newsletter.  Top story: "What Are Your Trees Relative Performance Index?"  See what it takes to rate your trees performance.  Also in this issue:  The Forest Service lauches Treesearch, and find out how your tree program stacks up to Cheyenne's. Click here to sign up to receive future issues electronically.  - View PDF document [1.6MB] - Download file [1.57MB]

FireWise for home safety.  We just released a new computer tool designed to demonstrate fire safety choices while retaining aesthetics and privacy.  Go to ecosmart.gov.  - View PDF document [0.16MB]

Make the large tree argument.  Don't settle for your community planting small-stature trees at the expense of large-stature trees.  See our latest research summary. - View PDF document [2.75MB] - Download file [3.49MB]

Land Development Today features Center research on bioretainment: Land Development Today

American Society of Landscape Architects runs article in their newsletter on our stormwater research.  See the article: http://www.asla.org/land/raindrain.html

Olympic Torch research in the news.  "Like almost all objects of modern society, the Olympic torch makes pollution. Just how much pollution is the subject of a curious study by a forester in Davis." 
See Sacramento Bee Article
See Route Map

New Newsletter.  Top story: "STRATUM in Action."  See how the City of North Vancouver, B.C. incorporated STRATUM into its planning process.  Also find out how many trees it takes to offset the transport of the Olympic torch.  And meet the new kid on the block.  Click here to sign up to receive future issues electronically. - View PDF document [1.17MB]

Special EPA Conference Call Will Feature Greg McPherson.  Here him speak on Wednesday, June 2.  Topic: "Air Quality Benefits From Parking Lot Shade." Click here for more details and call-in information: - View PDF document [0.15MB]

"STRATUM in Action" - Our Center's STRATUM model played an important part in the development of the Street Tree Master Plan for the The City of North Vancouver, British Columbia.  For more details on STRATUM in action click:http://www.lanarc.ca/cnvsurvey/