Washington, DC (November 17, 2015) — A U.S. Forest Service federal council has released a plan that identifies specific goals, actions, and recommendations for improving the status of urban and community forestry for the United States and its territories. The plan serves as a framework for awarding nearly $1 million in U.S. Forest Service grants to organizations, including grassroots nonprofits, academic researchers, private practitioners and local and state governments.
“We appreciate the time, effort, and hard work by the council to develop this new plan,” said James Hubbard, deputy chief for the Forest Service State and Private Forestry. “This plan supports the agency’s strategic plan. Urban forests provide critical social and environmental benefits for 83 percent of the US population living among 136 million acres of urban forest land.”
The Federal Advisory Council for the Forest Service’s Urban and Community Forestry Program developed the plan, which was released during the Arbor Day Foundation’s Partners in Community Forestry Conference in Denver, Colorado. The council is charged with developing an action plan every 10 years to help guide stakeholders in the management of the nation’s urban forests.
The action plan was developed in conjunction with community members who have interests in the forests where they live, work, and play. Through this guiding document, the council’s mission is to help all communities create urban and community forests that are diverse, healthy and resilient, and accessible for all citizens. The council’s future competitive grant categories will reflect the goals identified in the action plan.
The national Ten-Year Urban Forestry Action Plan has been developed by and for the urban forestry community. The plan’s purpose is to expand awareness of the benefits that our urban forests, as a green infrastructure system, provide to communities throughout the nation, and increase investments in these urban forest resources for the benefit of current and future generations.
The plan provides specific goals, actions, and recommendations for improving the status of urban and community forestry for the United States and its territories. The plan also identifies research needs, messaging and communications needs, and innovative funding and collaborative opportunities for urban forestry initiatives.
Notably, this plan also serves as a framework for funding and recommendation priorities to be developed by the National Urban and Community Forestry Advisory Council (NUCFAC) for the USDA Forest Service’s National Urban and Community Forestry program and the program’s National Challenge Cost Share Grants. The urban forestry community, including the Forest Service and other applicable federal agencies, are to use the Action Plan as a guide to implement and expand urban and community forestry for the next ten years (2016 –2026).