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

What is an Urban Forest?

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An urban forest encompasses the trees and shrubs in an urban area, including trees in yards, along streets and utility corridors, in protected areas, and in watersheds. (Escobedo, Kroeger, & Wagner, 2011Miller, Hauer, & Werner, 2015)

This includes individual trees, street trees, green spaces with trees, and even the associated vegetation and the soil beneath the trees. (Konijnendijk et al, 2006Escobedo, Kroeger, & Wagner, 2011)

In many regions, urban forests are the most extensive, functional, and visible form of green infrastructure in cities. Green infrastructure is the natural and semi-natural infrastructure within a city that provides ecosystem services like stormwater management or air pollution abatement. (Lafortezza et al, 2017)

This image provides some examples of where the urban forest can exist in a city. It includes trees, understory plants, and the soil and subsurface area. NRDC Green Infrastructure. Image: Cities4Forests. Photos: 1. Truba7113, 2. Vladimir Kudinov, 3. Chesapeake Bay Program, 4. Luisa Zottis/EMBARQ Brasil, 5. Pablo Gonzalez, 6. Vitor Oliveira.