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.
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.
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.
- This resource was created to be used with the Adaptation Workbook, a decision-support tool created for forest and ecosystem management, Forest Adaptation Resources: Climate change tools, and approaches for land managers.
- Read the full report: Climate adaptation actions for urban forests and human health.
- The Climate and Health Action Guide is designed to help land managers promote human health and climate benefits of urban forests while minimizing risks from climate change.
- Explore real-world adaptation demonstration projects that have used this tool in planning, such as:
Work with Us
We support adaptation activities in urban areas across the United States, with a focus on the Midwest and Northeast.
- Explore Adaptation Demonstrations with a focus on forests in urban areas.
- View upcoming trainings and workshops.