Urban and Community Forestry

Under the authority of the Urban Forestry Act (PRC 4799.06 - 4799.12) the Urban & Community Forestry Program works to expand and improve the management of trees and related vegetation in communities throughout California.

The mission of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection's Urban Forestry Program is to lead the effort to advance the development of sustainable urban and community forests in California. Trees provide energy conservation, reduction of storm-water runoff, extend the life of surface streets, improve local air, soil and water quality, reduce atmospheric carbon dioxide, improve public health, provide wildlife habitat and increase property values. In short, they improve the quality of life in our urban environments which, increasingly, are where Californians live, work, and play.

Seven Regional Urban Foresters provide expert urban forestry support to communities, non-profit groups and other municipal governments to create and maintain sustainable urban forests.  These specialists also administer and provide technical support for grants that are offered for activities such as tree planting, municipal tree inventories and management plans, urban forest educational efforts, and innovative urban forestry projects.  These grants utilized to assist communities throughout California advance their urban forestry efforts.

The program's mission is accomplished in cooperation with many groups including: California ReLeaf, a non-profit organization that coordinates grants to local groups, USFS Center for Urban Forest Research, urban forest researchers located in Davis Urban Forestry Ecosystem Institute, at California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, urban forestry education and applied research. California Urban Forest Council, a statewide non-profit comprised of diverse membership that advocates for the best possible urban forests in California. CAL FIRE's Fire and Resource Assessment Program (FRAP), which provides a variety of products including a detailed report on California's forests and rangelands. FRAP provides extensive technical and public information for statewide fire threat, fire hazard, watersheds, socio-economic conditions, environmental indicators, and forest-related climate change.

Other partners include, other state agencies, non-profit organizations, private urban forestry and arboricultural companies, power and utility companies, cities, counties, special districts, and professional organizations.  
These varied partners are brought together via the Director's advisory committee for urban and community forestry, the California Urban Forestry Advisory Committee (CUFAC).  Together they discuss trends, address concerns, develop suggestions for consideration by CAL FIRE management, and provide support and information to their local communities on urban forestry issues.

California's State Urban Forestry Program also works with our Fire Prevention Program in advocating fire-safe landscaping for homeowners and communities. Landscape design, tree selection and especially maintenance are critical elements in reducing the spread of fire and the risk to adjacent buildings. Even well-designed landscapes can become hazardous if not properly maintained. The program encourages compliance with the 100-foot defensible space requirement for communities in the urban wildland interface areas (PRC 4291) and offers suggestions for types of trees, landscape designs and pruning methods to assist homeowners in meeting that standard.

CAL FIRE Urban and Community Forestry is dedicated to California's efforts under AB32 to adapt to and mitigate Climate Change. An approved Urban Forestry project reporting and project accounting protocol are now available. A summary of the protocols and how urban forestry projects can contribute to achieving climate change goals is also available.

What's New

California Urban Forestry Advisory Committee Nominations

The California Urban Forestry Advisory Committee (CUFAC) is seeking nominations for representatives.  The positions are not compensated, but travel costs can be covered.  The CUFAC meets 2-4 times per year for 1-2 days each time.  Members are appointed by the Director for a three-year term and cannot serve more than two terms consecutively. The purpose and duties of this advisory body can be found in the CUFAC Charter. New nominees and those seeking a second term to serve in one of the positions below, need to fill out the nomination form and follow the submittal instructions. 

  • County Government (1)
  • City/Town Government (1)
  • Forest products, nursery, or related private industries (1)
  • An electric utility industry representative (1)
  • Urban Forestry or Arboriculture private industry (1)
  • Urban Forestry, landscape, or design consultant (1)
  • UC Cooperative Extension (1)
  • US Forest Service (1)
  • Local Urban Forestry Non- Profit Organization (1)
  • State-Wide Urban Forestry Non-Profit (1)

Urban Forestry Resources

Tree Growing, Buying and Care Guidelines


CAL FIRE Grants Increase Urban Forestry

Still curious about Urban Forestry?...To find out more, view this "Going Green" video

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