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.

Contact us for more information on this project

Urban Vulnerability Assessment

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 forests.

Download the Chicago Wilderness Vulnerability Assessment

Download Chicago 4-page summary and highlights

Download the Austin, Texas, Vulnerability Assessment

Download Austin 4-page summary and highlights

Download the Detroit, Michigan, Vulnerability Assessment

Download Detroit 4-page summary and highlights

Trees in an Urban area

Adaptation Strategies

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

Learn more about the Climate and Health Action Guide

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 Leslie Brandt to learn more about this effort

Contact Annamarie Rutledge to learn more about this effort