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Urban Forest Assessments

Percent tree cover in urban areas by county
Percent tree cover in urban areas by county in the conterminous United States, 2000. Source: 2010 RPA Assessment.

Forest Service R&D assesses the state of the Nation's 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.

National Monitoring & Assessments

National urban forest monitoring and assessments are part of the Forest Service's Resources Planning Act (RPA) Assessment, Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA), and Forest Health Monitoring programs.

Forest Service RPA Assessments report on the status and trends of the Nation's 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.

View the most recent RPA Assessment »

The National Report on Sustainable Forests is a periodic Forest Service report that provides information on forest conditions in the United States based on the Montréal Process Criteria and Indicators for Forest Sustainability. In June 2016, the Forest Service released a report that augments national forest sustainability reporting with information on agricultural and urban forest resources.

View Assessing the Sustainability of Agricultural and Urban Forests in the United States (June 2016)

Learn more about the National Report on Sustainable Forests 2010

The Forest Service's Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) program has provided the Nation's forest census since 1930. A system of forest measurement field plots serves as the program's foundation. Annual forest data collection, analysis, and reporting provide critical information needed to assess the status, trends, and sustainability of the Nation's forests. In recognition of the importance of including urban forests in the nation's forest census, the FIA program is working towards a systematic approach for collecting and reporting data on the status and trends of urban trees and forests. The new Urban FIA complements existing regional and local efforts to provide a cohesive picture of urban forest conditions in the U.S.

Find national urban forest resource reports »

Visit the National FIA Program page »

State Data & Sample Reports

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.

View and download urban forest data »

Local Urban Tree Canopy Assessment

An Urban Tree Canopy (UTC) assessment provides a measure of a community’s tree canopy cover at high resolution, and is often used for establishing and implementing municipal tree canopy goals as part of broader urban greening and sustainability initiatives. 
The Urban Tree Canopy Assessment approach and protocols were invented by the U.S. Forest Service in 2006.  This approach involves the development and integration of hi-resolution landcover (<2’) and hi-resolution ownership (parcel) data from parcel to regional scales. The UTC analysis takes what is learned about the existing canopy cover from the assessment and applies this data to the stated goals and priorities of community residents, agencies, and stakeholders to inform planning decisions and investments.

View more information and local examples
View how to conduct your own assessment and analysis