Runners along an urban trail surrounded by trees and the cityscape.

Urban forests are experiencing impacts from climate change.

Urban forests make up a small percentage of forests in the United States, but are a key component of where most of the population lives and recreates on a daily basis. The Urban Forestry Framework project, tested first in Chicago and now expanded to other regions, addresses urban forest vulnerability for cities in the United States, and creates tools to help local managers adapt to the effects of climate change.

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Urban Forest Climate Vulnerability Resources

Urban forest vulnerability assessments examine climate change risks and opportunities for each area's urban forest. We assess vulnerability by evaluating habitat suitability models, projected changes in heat and hardiness zones, and the adaptive capacity of tree species. We also synthesize hundreds of scientific papers, summarize case studies of community-level vulnerability assessments, and incorporate forest manager expertise to assess the effects of climate change on urban and community forests.

Vulnerability assessments have been produced for the following metropolitan areas:

Shorter handouts summarizing tree species climate vulnerability and adaptability are available for the other metropolitan areas included on the map above. Click on a city to access the resources that have been produced for that area.

Trees in an Urban area

Climate Adaptation Strategies for Urban Forests & Human Health

Adaptation strategies for urban forests will vary widely depending on geographic location, extent of development, ownership, and management goals. Adaptation strategies for urban natural areas may be similar to their rural counterparts, but may include additional considerations to account for higher fragmentation, non-native species invasion, and pollution. Strategies for developed areas, such as along streets, in yards, and on campuses, may be entirely different because the soils, species composition, and hydrology are already diverged from what had been there historically.

Menu of Urban Forests Adaptation Strategies and Approaches

     City of Austin Balcon Canyonlands Preserve

     Providence, RI: Climate and Health Adaptation Demonstration

     Speak for the Trees, Boston: Growing Boston's Urban Tree Canopy

Read the Older Menu of Urban Forests Adaptation Strategies and Approaches

Work with Us

We support adaptation activities in urban areas across the United States, with a focus on the Midwest and Northeast.

Contact us to learn more about this effort