Forest Service R&D assesses the state of the Nationís forests through satellite technology in combination with field sampling. We provide information on urban tree canopy distribution, species composition and health, and urban tree benefits or ecosystem services. Long-term monitoring allows us to assess and predict changes in the urban forest resource over time.
State & Local Assessments
The Forest Service provides data on U.S. urban forests at state, county, and sub-county levels. Summary reports can be used to:
- Identify trends in urbanization and the growth and decline of urban forests.
- Determine priority areas for urban reforestation.
- Quantify ecosystem services that urban forests provide, such as carbon sequestration and stormwater management.
- Support urban and community forest management and green infrastructure planning.
National Monitoring & Assessments
Forest Service RPA Assessments report on the status and trends of the Nationís forest and range resources every ten years, looking 50 years into the future. The RPA program has included urban tree cover and urban ecosystem services in these national assessments since 2000.
The Forest Serviceís Forest Inventory Analysis program has provided the Nationís forest census since 1930. A system of forest measurement field plots serves as the programís foundation. Annual forest data collection, analysis, and reporting provide critical information needed to assess the status, trends, and sustainability of the Nationís forests. FIA represents the vast majority of trees nationally, but because data are limited to lands with undisturbed understories, urban areas are not traditionally included. The Forest Serviceís Forest Health Monitoring program and FIA have pilot-tested urban inventory protocols, methods, and analysis in five states: Indiana, Wisconsin, New Jersey, Tennessee, and Colorado. The FIA program has also conducted an inventory of the urban areas in Alaska, Washington, Oregon, California, and Hawaii. These pilot studies provide baseline data on the structure, extent, and health of urban forests, laying the foundation for future expansion of FIA into other urban areas.