Gray, Gerald J. Forest Policy Center, American Forests, Washington, DC.
Moll, Gary A. Urban and Community Forestry, American Forestry Association, Washington, DC.
Last reviewed:January 2021
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The planning and implementation of actions to establish, protect, restore, and maintain trees and forests in cities and smaller communities. When the field of urban forestry began in the 1960s, it focused on individual trees along streets and adjacent to homes and buildings and on groups of trees in specific spatial areas, such as parks. Since then, urban forestry has evolved toward more holistic consideration of the structure, processes, and functions of urban ecosystems at a larger scale. Importantly, trees and forests play a critical role in maintaining healthy urban ecosystems (see illustration), providing ecological services (for example, filtering water and air pollution, reducing stormwater flows, sequestering carbon emissions, conserving energy, and reducing soil erosion), human health benefits (including locations for recreation), esthetic improvements, and habitats for fish and wildlife. In general, urban trees, forests, and related vegetation are often referred to as green infrastructure in order to compare and contrast them with human-made or hard infrastructure, such as buildings and roads. See also: Ecological communities; Forest; Forest ecosystem; Forestry; Tree
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