USDA Forest Service

Pacific Southwest Research Station


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

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Center for Urban Forest Research

Search Our Products & Publications - This is the best tool to find documents produced by the Center for Urban Forest Research

Since 1992 we have provided our customers with reliable scientific evidence that the benefits of urban forests add real value to communities.

Our research confirms that trees in our community forests are assets that pay us back.

  • Conserve energy by shading buildings and paved surfaces
  • Filter airborne pollutants
  • Remove atmospheric carbon dioxide
  • Reduce stormwater runoff
  • Increase the value of our homes
New research

Green Streets - Storm water management system for paved areas - Learn more


Los Angeles One Million Trees Initiative - Learn more


Oakland Watershed Restoration and Protection Study - Learn more


Sacramento Urban Forest For Clean Air Project - Learn more


STRATUM - an application within the new i-Tree software suite, is an easy to use, computer-based program that helps communities assess the benefits of their street trees. - Visit the STRATUM page!


ecoSmart - a Web-based program designed to evaluate the economic trade-offs between different landscape practices on residential parcels.


Urban Forest Research Newsletter

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What's New

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

Selecting Reference Cities for i-Tree Streets: Selecting the reference city when using  i-Tree Streets (formerly STRATUM)  is problematic when the subject city is outside the U.S., lays on the border between two climate zones, has a different climate, or tree species composition because of differences in elevation, urban morphology, and environmental quality. A systematic process for selecting the best match is described and illustrated by Greg McPherson in Arboriculture & Urban Forestry (2010. 36(5): 230-240), the scientific journal of the International Society of Arboriculture. Selection criteria are tree species composition, heating and cooling degree days, and annual precipitation. For example, the state of California’s reference cities of Modesto and Claremont proved to be the best match for Lisbon, Portugal.
Download the PDF of Selecting Reference Cities for i-Tree Streets.

ecoSmart Partners CUFR has been seeking partners to develop and disseminate a sustainable sites evaluation tool. That investigation has led to discussions with TreePeople, EcoLayers, UC Davis, and the US EPA Office of Water. These entities share the desire to develop technologies that will guide and support residents, agencies, and other institutions as they retrofit existing landscapes and design new sites for more sustainable performance. We anticipate that the partnership will grow as this project evolves.

Capturing carbon in your community - Did you know that over the course of its life, a tree can store 10,000 lb of carbon dioxide? Or that in hotter climates the greenhouse gas benefits from energy conservation realized by a strategically placed tree can exceed those of carbon storage? Read all about these and other key aspects of the Urban Forest Project Reporting Protocol in the Winter 2008 Western Arborist article by Greg McPherson.

The last Community Tree Guide in the series has been printed. The Central Florida Community Tree Guide, is now available as a hard copy by request or in PDF format. The Central Florida climate zone is included in i-Tree STREETS, allowing communities in Florida to obtain extensive information on the benefits and costs associated with their street tree populations.
The Northern California Coast Community Tree Guide is available as a hard copy by request or as a PDF file: Northern California Coast Community Tree Guide

The Air Resources Board adopted the Urban Forest Project Reporting Protocol to quantify emissions from urban forest projects. Read more about it here.

Our study on locating potential planting sites in Los Angeles using aerial imagery and GIS has just been published in Urban Forestry and Urban Greening. Congratulations Chelsea!

Looking for ways personally to make a difference in the fight against global climate change? Read Kelaine's article in the Spring issue of California Trees for more information on how trees help and what you can do. "Trees have one big advantage compared to all other methods of addressing global warming: they actually remove greenhouse gases from the atmosphere."

Animating trees: Most tree growth animations and, in fact, most trees in any graphics program, are not based on real data. Our new program, developed with scientists at the Institute for Mathematics and Computer Science at Greifswald University in Germany, models tree growth on-the-fly based on measurements from CUFR research and displays the benefits and costs of the trees at the same time. Watch a quick clip of our first tree animation video on or see the latest version below. In the coming weeks, we'll be featuring animations of different species on our website. For information on the research that went into constructing the model, read Visualization of Time-Varying Tree Data [PDF 1 MB] and Inverse Modeling and Animation of Growing Single-Stemmed Trees at Interactive Rates [PDF 180 kB].

Animation of ash tree growth


See what else was new at the Center in our Archive...

Last Modified: Mar 7, 2011 12:20:51 PM