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US Forest Service
Attention: Urban and Community Forestry
201 14th Street SW
Washington, D.C. 20250

(202) 205-1054

  USA dot Gov: The U.S. Government's Official Web Portal.
Urban and Community Forestry

Program Overview

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 communities. 

Interconnected systems:

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 work:

  • Conserve working forest landscapes,

  • Protect forests from harm, and

  • Enhance benefits associated with trees and forests.


Group of children and teachers on a field trip in a wooded park.

US Forest Service
Last modified: January 09, 2014