Urban forests are the trees in the cities and neighborhoods where we live. The urban forest includes trees along streets, in parks and natural areas, and in your own backyard.
Urban forests provide many important environmental, social, and economic benefits and services too.
Urban forestry is the care and management of these trees in cities. Many cities have an urban forestry or other tree care program that manages trees along city streets and in parks.
ODF's Urban and Community Forestry Program provides assistance to communities committed to their urban trees, or looking to improve and expand their urban forestry programs. Contact an Urban and Community Assistance Forester to learn how your city can become more involved in urban forestry activities.
Arbor Day is America's National Tree Holiday. It’s the day set aside to plant ceremonial trees, educate children about the importance of trees and honor the important role trees play in our daily lives. National Arbor Day is always celebrated on the last Friday in April, but many states observe Arbor Day on different dates throughout the year based on best tree-planting times in their area.
In Oregon, we traditionally set aside the first full calendar week in April to honor trees.
For more information on Arbor Day or to plan a celebration, visit the Arbor Day Foundation or contact your local Urban and Community Assistance Forester.
The Tree City USA program is a national program that provides the framework for community forestry management for cities and towns across America.
Communities achieve Tree City USA status by meeting four core standards of sound urban forestry management:
- Maintaining a tree board or department
- Having a community tree ordinance
- Spending at least $2 per capita on urban forestry
- Celebrating Arbor Day
Participating communities have demonstrated a commitment to caring for and managing their public trees. In Oregon, nearly 60 communities participate in the Tree City USA program.
List of Tree City USA communities in Oregon
If your community is interested in becoming a Tree City USA, please contact an Urban and Community Assistance Forester or visit the Arbor Day Foundation website.
Tree Campus USA
The Arbor Day Foundation also recognizes college and university campuses committed to their green space through the Tree Campus USA program. Tree Campus USA schools:
- Effectively manage their campus trees
- Develop a connection with their community beyond campus borders to foster healthy, urban forests
- Strive to engage their student population with campus and community forestry efforts
Learn more about becoming a Tree Campus USA from the Arbor Day Foundation.
A Tree Board, sometimes called “Tree Advisory Committee” or “Tree Commission,” is a group of citizen volunteers charged by ordinance with developing, guiding, or administering a community tree management program. A Tree Board advises and assists city professionals by:
- Raising public awareness and public education about the value of trees
- Serving as a technical advisor on tree related issue
- Helping work on city tree care codes or a management plan
- Advocating for trees
- Promote Heritage Tree programs
- Organizing tree planning projects and Arbor Day ceremonies
Cities with Tree City USA status already have a Tree Board of some sort.
If your city is not already a Tree City USA, consider starting a Tree Board in your town by contacting your mayor or city manager. Also consider attending "Tree Board University," a free, online series of courses to help you learn more about serving in a citizen advisory role in your city.