Urban and Community Forestry (UCF) is a cooperative
program of the US Forest Service that focuses on the stewardship of urban
natural resources. With 80 percent of the nation's population in urban areas, there are
strong environmental, social, and economic cases to be made for the
conservation of green spaces to guide growth and revitalize city centers
and older suburbs.
UCF responds to the needs of urban areas by maintaining, restoring, and
improving urban forest ecosystems on more than 70 million acres. Through
these efforts the program encourages and promotes the creation of
healthier, more livable urban environments across the nation.
A message from our Director:
People give their time and money to things that they care about. In recent years, urban and community forests - key to the health and vitality of our nation's communities - have become a focal point for an ever increasing number of people. People realize that healthy urban forests grow investments in their communities. Investments in forests provide: clean air and water; energy conservation; reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and storm water management cost; contribute to human health and well being; increase real estate value and economic returns to businesses; mitigate higher density development; ease traffic flow; add beauty and breathing room with places to recreate and hold public events. The Forest Service is proud to act as partner and sponsor of work that helps connect people with nature and with each other. By restoring and sustaining the health of urban forests we not only preserve the unique sense of place found in our nation's cities and towns, but recognize our own place within these communities and the larger landscape.
The urban forest:
Urban forests broadly include
urban parks, street trees, landscaped boulevards, public gardens, river
and coastal promenades, greenways, river corridors, wetlands, nature
preserves, natural areas, shelter belts of trees and working trees at
industrial brownfield sites.
Benefits of urban forests:
Urban forests are dynamic
ecosystems that provide needed environmental services by cleaning air and
water helping to control stormwater, and conserving energy. They add
form, structure, beauty and breathing room to urban design, reduce noise,
separate incompatible uses, provide places to recreate, strengthen social
cohesion, leverage community revitalization, and add economic value to our
Urban forests, through
planned connections of green spaces, form the green infrastructure system
on which communities depend. Green infrastructure works
at multiple scales from the neighborhood to the metro area up to the
regional landscape. This natural life support system sustains clean air
and water, biodiversity, habitat, nesting and travel corridors for
wildlife, and connects people to nature.
How the program works:
UCF provides technical,
financial, research and educational services to local government, non
profit organizations community groups, educational institutions, and
tribal governments. The program is delivered through its legislative
partners, the state forestry
agencies in 59 states and US territories.
Forest Service cooperative
programs are currently being redesigned to make more effective use of
federal resources. Programs will be focused on issues and landscapes
of national importance and prioritized through state and regional
assessments. Over the next five years an increasing percentage of
funding will be focused on landscape scale
projects. Three national themes provide a framework for this
Conserve working forest landscapes,
Protect forests from harm, and
Enhance benefits associated with trees and forests.