Summary: Trees provide cooling through evapotranspiration and shading that decreases temperatures along walkways. Increasing vegetation provides numerous co-benefits like reducing pollution, improving the public realm, and decreasing energy costs. The goals of an urban foresty plan is to look at existing tree canopy coverage and identify strategies to expand coverage. Creating an urban forestry plan is an important step to align different departments to address possible disparities in tree canopy coverage, protect biodiversity, and provide efficient maintenance.
Implementation: Create an urban forest or street tree plan to guide city implementation.
Considerations for Use: Urban forestry plans need to select native species that recognize local context's water needs. Trees can increase fire risk depending on climate and environmental context. Plantings require ongoing maintenance with associated costs and staffing. Urban forestry and street plans can be piloted in high priority neighborhoods or neighborhoods undergoing rezonings.
- Policy Levers: The mechanism municipalities can use to actualize the intervention. These policy levers will likely be used in combination with each other.
CommitmentGovernments set ambitious goals or targets to guide prioritization and investment.
- Trigger Points: Opportunities for municipalities to implement risk reduction and preparedness interventions based on the policy lever, building on the United Nations Environment Programme triggers used in the Beating the Heat handbook (2021).
City planning processesIncludes city initiatives such as the development of climate action plan, pathway to zero-energy, master plan, transit plan, energy mapping etc.Evaluating or initiating major city infrastructure projectsIncludes projects such as city transit, street or utilities construction / re-construction etc.Preparatory measures (actions to establish authority to act)Actions to establish/ ensure the authority to act when appropriate trigger-points occur.
- Intervention Type:
Informal Settlements, Parks, Public Works
- Target Beneficiaries:
Heat-vulnerable communities, Property owners, Residents
- Phase of Impact:
Risk reduction and mitigation
Change in urban canopy
- TreeVitalize in Pennsylvania, PA (EPA, Pg 6)
- Melbourne's Urban Forest Strategy
- Cincinnati, OH Urban Canopy Policy (ULI, Pg 58)
- Intervention Scale:
City, District, Neighborhood
- Authority and Governance:
- Implementation Timeline:
Short-term (1-2 Years)
- Implementation Stakeholders:
CBOs, City government, Private developers, Property owners and managers
- Funding Sources:
Grants and philanthropy, private investment, Public investment
- Capacity to Act:
- Public Good:
- GHG Reduction:
- Co-benefits (Climate/Environmental):
Improve stormwater management, Preserve biodiversity, Provide flood protection, Reduce air and water pollution
- Co-benefits (Social):
Build social cohesion, Improve human health, Improve the public realm, Increase property values