Part of: Urban Forests for Healthier Cities: Policy, Planning, Regulations, and Institutional Arrangements

Urban Forest Management Plans

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To synthesize the visions, policies, codes, and other information from different government agencies and to provide historical context for urban forests, some cities choose to develop urban forest management plans. These plans may outline the vision for the forest’s future, contain inventories of city trees, and quantify forest benefits. Integrating various plans and policies under one overarching plan can help to centralize information, establish a clear and cohesive vision, and serve as a roadmap for the management of the urban forest.

Typically, “high-quality” urban forest management plans contain:

  • A visionary statement for the city’s canopy
  • An inventory or other assessment of the urban forest
  • A description of goals, objectives, measurable targets, and actions
  • An implementation plan describing dates and responsibilities
  • An ongoing monitoring plan

(Sources: Gibbons & Ryan, 2015California Urban Forest Council, 2018Ordóñez and Duinker 2013)

These plans also often provide historical background on the region and quantification of benefits. They may offer guidelines on species selection or planting practices.

City of San Francisco Urban Forest Plan, 2014.