What is the Urban Forest?
In contrast to state and national forests and private land managed for producing timber products, the urban or community forest is generally defined as those trees growing in an area dominated by human activity. The urban forest is an assemblage of many subsets of trees and in some conversations, associated vegetation.

In metropolitan areas, the urban forest includes, but is not limited to, those trees found along streets, in private yards, on school grounds, in private nature preserves, in public parks, in cemeteries, on commercial properties and industrial sites, and more. In a small rural town or village, the term “community forest” is probably a better fit. Whatever term you’re using, this forest is comprised of your trees and our trees.

Discussion of the urban/community forest can zoom in to focus on one or several components (say, city parks in Wyoming) or can zoom out to discuss all components that influence a county, watershed or multi-state metropolitan region. Component value, ownership and management goals span a spectrum of intensity and professional input and are rarely in sync across a region. Nevertheless, the sum of all the parts has tremendous impact on environmental, social and public health issues. These impacts are documented at micro and macro levels (your home or your region) and across all socio-economic strata.

In Wyoming, the major components of the urban forest include:

public trees
-those in the ROW
-those in parks and preserves
-those on public property like the Administration and Public Safety buildings

private trees
-those in residential landscapes
-those in commercial landscapes

-those on church grounds
-those on school grounds

In the pages that follow, we’ll primarily be discussing public trees, particularly those planted along streets.

What is the core concept that average citizens or elected officials need to understand about the urban forest? More and larger shade trees are better for you and your community.

Further reading:

https://www.fs.fed.us/openspace/fote/reports/nrs-62_sustaining_americas_urban.pdf — 28 pages. Includes definitions of the urban forest and urban forestry, discussion of urban forest benefits, and overview of management issues.

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1618866705000464 — ~250 words. Abstract of article on defining urban forestry among professionals.

Fast FAQs
Just the basics
Info for newcomers

Organizing Concepts
What is the Urban Forest?
What is a Public Tree?
Who Cares for Public Trees?
Who Prunes Right-0f-Way Trees?
Why Care About Public Trees?
How is Public Tree Management Funded?

Prevent Damage to Soil in the Right-of-Way
Prevent Tree Root Damage in the Right-of-Way

Glossary of Terms