Forest Benefits

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 forest benefits diagramUrban 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.​

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Resources

Arbor Day Foundation’s national network of nonprofit organizations, municipalities, urban forest councils and individuals devoted to the hands-on work of planting and caring for trees in cities and towns.

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A national conservation organization whose commitments include building vibrant cities through urban forests and greenspace. They partner with city leaders and community groups, develop science-based action plans, advocate for and fund urban forestry, implement planting projects and build public awareness. The website also contains the register of the largest living specimens of American trees, The National Register of Champion Trees.

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Register website​​ ​​

The largest non-profit membership organization focused on planting trees both nationally and internationally. ADF has many tree and urban forestry-related programs, including Tree City USA, Tree Campus USA, Tree Line USA and Community Tree Recovery. ADF is the host of the annual Partners in Community Forestry (PCF) conference, the largest international gathering of urban forestry practitioners, advocates, researchers, and government leaders

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PCF website​​​​ ​

The newsletter of the Oregon Department of Forestry, Urban and Community Forestry Assistance Program.

Previous newsletters
Sign up to receive the newsletter​​ ​​​​​​​​​​

A nationally recognized grassroot non-profit, Friends of Trees strives to make it fun and easy for cities and volunteers to reforest natural areas and plant street and yard trees in the Portland area, Salem, Eugene and southwest Washington.

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Through research, technology, and education, the ISA promotes the professional practice of arboriculture and fosters a greater worldwide awareness of the benefits of trees. ISA exists so that professionals, allied professionals, public officials, and consumers worldwide recognize the economic, environmental, and societal benefits and values of trees and their care at a cost that demonstrates the wise stewardship of resources.

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PNW Chapter website ​​​

An assortment of publications on tree and urban forestry related topics. Scroll down to “Publications about Forest Benefits & Health."

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A list of public places around Oregon where a variety of trees are grown for study and display. ​Please note the below lists capture most of the arboretums in Oregon.​​​​​​

OCT is Oregon’s urban and community forestry advisory council. It’s mission is to promote healthy urban and community forests through leadership, education, awareness, and advocacy. OCT co-hosts Oregon’s annual urban forestry conference; recognizes individuals and organizations for outstanding work on behalf of urban trees; and provides small grants to help boost community celebrations of Oregon Arbor Week.

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A program of the Oregon Travel Information Council (OTIC), officially recognizing Oregon trees that hold state historical significance. The website also contains a directory of city and county heritage tree programs.

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From improving air and water quality, to advancing human health and safety, to promoting economic development and social equity, SUFC is a powerful urban forestry lobbying organization whose mission is to convene and mobilize its diverse member network to foster thriving communities through healthy urban and community forests.

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TreesAreGood.org provides the public with educational information about the benefits of trees and how to properly care for trees in the urban environment.​​

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Designed to help guide city managers, policymakers and advocates in building effective urban forest programs, this website contains the latest research and best practices for implementing urban forestry projects in your community. A joint project of the US FS, American Forests and the National Association of Regional Councils.

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​​Contact
Urban & Community Forestry Program
Private Forests Division
2600 State Street
Salem, OR 97310
Phone: 503-945-7200
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