Strengthening Community Forestry and Urban Tree Management for Multiple Benefits


The purpose of this position statement is to raise awareness and support shared understanding of the value and impact of community forests and urban trees and their management for a full scope of environmental, economic, and social benefits in the United States.


Urban and community forests and trees include publicly- and privately-owned trees within an urban or community area, including individual trees along streets and in backyards, and natural areas.


The Society of American Foresters (SAF) believes actions and practices that strengthen and improve urban and community forests and trees are vital to social, economic, and environmental well-being. As the population has become increasingly urbanized, urban and community forests are critical to human health, air quality, energy consumption, water quality, invasive species, fire protection, recreation, and others. SAF believes:

(1) sustained investment in urban and community forests are necessary to achieve these purposes;
(2) urban forests present unique and challenging conditions to forest management;
(3) successful urban forest management requires broad community involvement and technical expertise; and
(4) the maintenance of urban tree cover has significant societal and landscape-scale environmental benefits.

SAF strongly supports activities and funding that promote establishment, maintenance, and sustainability of urban forest ecosystems for all communities. SAF supports integrating the science and art of urban and community forestry into broader land-use planning systems. SAF believes that the sustainable management and use of urban and community forest resources, including the ecological maintenance of the associated green infrastructure, requires an enabling policy and regulatory framework, forward-looking research and investment programs, public education, and institutional strengthening of government and private sector investments and partnerships.

Approved: December 2018