Last Updated January 26, 2010
Forest Service Urban and Community Forestry Program (U&CF)
In partnership with state foresters and equivalent state officials, providing financial and technical assistance to local governments and others to encourage stewardship of urban and community trees and forest resources
The Urban and Community Forestry (U&CF) Program (www.fs.fed.us/ucf/) addresses the stewardship needs of natural resources where 80 percent of the nation's population lives, works, and plays. Because in urban areas the quality of life is closely connected with land conversion associated with development, there is a strong economic case for conserving and restoring tree cover and green open space to help guide growth, improve the livability of community neighborhoods, and revitalize city centers and older suburbs. The U&CF Program responds to these needs for more than 70 million acres of America's urban and community forest resources.
Administered through USDA Forest Service regional offices and its State and Private Forestry Northeastern Area, the U&CF Program provides technical, educational and financial assistance to state forestry agencies and other partners to help local units of government and community organizations maintain, restore, and improve the health of urban and community trees, forests, green spaces, and sustainable urban forest ecosystems.
Healthy urban and community forests have multiple benefits, including reducing energy use, improving air quality, and reducing storm water runoff and flooding. The program provides support for a variety of purposes, including preserving urban forest cover, planting and maintaining trees, providing education programs, facilitating better use of wood from urban trees, and reducing urban tree waste in landfills.
- A Challenge Cost-Share Grant was provided to the Alliance for Community Trees to develop a Community Tree Leadership Forum. The Forum has successfully engaged 110 participants from 93 nonprofits and urban and community forestry groups from 35 states, increasing the impact of these community tree groups.
- Urban and community forestry projects that promote livable communities have also been granted U&CF funds. Livable communities projects have been funded to recipients in Bath, ME, Sacramento, CA, Minneapolis, MN and Fort Mitchell, KY.
- A Challenge Cost-Share grant was awarded to the American Public Works Association for their project "Urban Forest Management and Public Works: Improving Communication and Building Capacity," to bridge the communication gap between public works and urban Forestry professionals.
- Examples of state and regional U&CF projects have included: in North Carolina, helping to establish and restore city parks; in Nebraska and Kansas, helping to fund hazard tree assessments, planning assistance and tree planting following devastating tornados, and; in New Mexico, increasing Firewise and Backyard Tree Farm activities that create defensible space for wildland urban interface homeowners.
Application and Financial Information
Assistance for local governments and community organizations is available primarily through State Forestry organizations. Each state issues its own application procedures. Funds are limited by availability and sometimes by Congressional or Administration-identified priorities. The federal contribution cannot exceed 50 percent of the total project costs.
Some USDA Forest Service regions also provide competitive grants directly to local governments and local or regional organizations for regionally significant projects.
The U&CF program funds a competitive, challenge cost-share program in cooperation with the National Urban & Community Forestry Advisory Council to support urban and community forestry activities that are national or widespread in their impact or application.
Eligibility, Uses & Restrictions
Cities, towns, municipalities, local governments, and nongovernmental organizations are eligible. Priority is given to projects that build local capacity and have the support and involvement of communities and volunteer groups.