A healthy urban forest can help the community achieve goals of environmental, social, and economic sustainability while reducing greenhouse gas emissions and removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. The urban landscape can be understood as an ecosystem, with each part relating to and affecting the whole. Within this ecosystem, the urban forest mitigates air and water pollution. It also functions as a place for recreation and escape from urban stress. By shading and sheltering buildings, trees reduce the costs of cooling and heating. And even in urban settings, our health and welfare benefit from exposure to nature.
The benefits of urban trees are many, and as part of the community’s commitment to greening its streets and addressing air quality and climate change, an urban forestry program should be created. Such a program would incorporate the community’s existing street tree program and expand it throughout neighborhoods. It would also result in a community tree inventory, a carbon sequestration calculation, and educational programs for landowners on tree maintenance. It would establish planting guidelines, pruning schedules, and policy for how to deal with impacts to the community’s urban forest.