General Urban Forestry Information
What Is Urban Forestry?
Urban forestry seems like an oxymoron to many, but in fact these are the trees that most of us encounter most often in our daily lives. They are the trees in our backyards, lining our streets, in our parks, and across the developed landscape. Collectively, these trees play an important role in mitigating many of the negative impacts of urbanization while also providing a suite of additional benefits.
Different types of canopy in the urban forest, depicted by the Natural Areas Conservancy in New York City.
Why Are Urban Forests Important?
Urban forests are a critical form of infrastructure in our cities and towns. They help filter the air and water, maintain biodiversity, build social cohesion within our communities, and so much more. The importance of forests and trees in our cities is increasingly being recognized as many cities face exacerbated climate change impacts. For example, high levels of impervious surface in urban areas make cities especially vulnerable to flooding after extreme weather events. Increased impervious surface also causes cities to have elevated temperatures, also known as the urban heat island effect. Trees and forests within the urban matrix can help keep cities cooler and absorb storm water, increasing our resilience to climate change impacts. At the same time, as these trees grow, they store and sequester carbon, a major greenhouse gas. To read more about the many benefits provided by urban forests, visit the Vibrant Cities Lab.
DEEP's Urban Forestry Program
DEEP’s Urban Forestry Program works with municipalities, non-profits, community groups, and residents to help them grow and manage their urban and community forests. At the state-level, the Urban Forestry Program is guided by the proposed actions in the 2020 Forest Action Plan and the Governor’s Council on Climate Change. These statewide goals include efforts to increase tree cover, particularly in underserved areas where existing canopy cover is low; improve the condition of existing trees; ensure a healthy and resilient future urban forest; and connect residents to their urban and community forests. Many of these same goals inform management at the municipal-level; however, the specific challenges and opportunities in each city and town may vary. To learn more about specific resources and information for urban forest management at the city-scale, visit this page.
The Urban Forestry Program also works in partnership with the Arbor Day Foundation to help municipalities and universities obtain either Tree City or Tree Campus designations and works with Sustainable CT to assist participating communities in obtaining accomplishments related to the Woodland and Urban Forest Action. Additionally, the Urban Forestry Program has several grant opportunities available to help fund urban forestry projects throughout the state.
In addition to DEEP’s Urban Forestry Program, Connecticut is also home to several groups and organizations that focus on urban forestry in the state:
- Connecticut Urban Forest Council: The Connecticut Urban Forest Council is a statewide organization composed of representatives from Connecticut environmental organizations, state agencies, universities, research institutions, corporations, professional communities, and citizen tree groups. The council provides advice, assistance, education, information, and support to urban and community forestry professionals, associated professionals, municipal, state and corporate leaders, and volunteers.
- Tree Wardens Association of Connecticut: This organization is dedicated to educating Connecticut's tree wardens about the duties and responsibilities associated with care and control of the public's trees.
- Connecticut Forest and Park Association: A statewide organization dedicated to environmental education and conservation.
- Connecticut Tree Protective Association: An educational association for those in the tree care industry. Their goal is to advance the quality of the tree care in Connecticut.
- Connecticut Invasive Plant Working Group: CIPWG's mission centers on ways to contain or eliminate existing invasive plants in the state, prevent the introduction of new invasive plants, and educate the public regarding the importance of care and vigilance regarding these plants.
- Audubon Connecticut: Through the urban oases initiative, Audubon Connecticut has become an active participant in urban forestry efforts, including several demonstration projects in New Haven.
Meet DEEP's Urban Forestry Coordinator
Danica Doroski joined DEEP as the Urban Forestry Coordinator in 2021. A forest ecologist by training, Danica also brings experience in horticulture, community engagement, and education from her time at the Morris Arboretum in Philadelphia, PA, the New York Restoration Project and the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation. Throughout these various roles, her favorite part of urban forestry continues to be getting to learn from local land managers and community groups about the urban forests in their neighborhoods. Danica holds a BA from Bates College and both an MFS and PhD from the Yale School of the Environment.
Content last updated in September 2022.