• Start-up
  • Planning
  • Action
  • Evaluation
The City of Columbia, MO, is working to increase its canopy cover with a goal of planting 4,000 trees by 2030.

Project Area

urban tree canopy by ward, Columbia, MO
Columbia, Missouri, is home to the University of Missouri and is Missouri's fourth most-populous city, with an estimated 120,612 residents in 2016. This project focuses on Columbia’s Urban Forest Management Plan, which the city started in 2017. The current management plan covers:
Creating a basic urban tree canopy analysis for canopy understanding.
Doing a detailed analysis for three priority neighborhoods.
Updating the street tree inventory.
Creating management zones and a proactive maintenance schedule.
Analyzing leaf debris.
Doing case study research with comparable communities.
Developing future recommendations.

Management Goals

The overall goal of the city's Street Tree Management Plan is to create a proactive tree planting program that aims to get Columbia’s street tree stocking level from 15% to 25% by 2030. The city has a goal of planting 4,000 trees.

Climate Change Impacts

For this project, the most important anticipated climate change impacts include:
Changes in temperature could equate to changes in hardiness zone and the associated decline in species not suited to the change, thus affecting population diversity
Increases in flood frequency and intensity
The urban heat island effect can exacerbate the effects of increasing temperatures.
Extreme weather events include longer periods of drought during summer and more precipitation that may result in more hazardous ice storms and localized flooding.

Challenges and Opportunities

Climate change will present challenges and opportunities for accomplishing the management objectives of this project, including:


A complex planting season due to variable and unknown weather conditions.
As wildfire intensity/frequency increases it also affects the budgetary constraints of suppression efforts, leading to less funding for other projects, particularly in urban interface areas are affected.
Increases in winter precip and corresponding snow removal can lend to budgetary constraints.


Potentially greater number of tree species to plant in this hardiness zone.
Longer planting window related to longer growing season.

Adaptation Actions

Project participants used the Adaptation Workbook to develop several adaptation actions for this project, including:

Select appropriate native species for street tree plantings.
Coordinate tree planting to diversify age structure across city street trees.
Narrowing tree selection to only include native trees and/or their cultivars will reduce the introduction of invasive trees.
Revegetate and manage recently disturbed street developments against invasive species to establish native vegetation.
Select species or genotypes capable of tolerating a variety of conditions especially for downtown street trees.


Project participants identified several monitoring items that could help inform future management, including:
Survival of street tree plantings. Threshold: 70% street tree survival at 3 years.
Diversity of street trees. Biannual inventory of the percentage of trees that belong to a family (no more than 10% of street trees may belong to a single family).
Presence or absence of invasive vegetation at recently disturbed sites (new road construction, etc.) after 1 year.

Next Steps

The Street Tree Management Plan will be completed in the near future and will support climate adaptation goals set by the City of Columbia's Climate Action and Adaptation Plan.

Learn More

To learn more about this project, contact


Management plan

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