Have you ever driven along a tree-lined street and appreciated the shade, beauty, and sense of peace? You are experiencing the positive impacts healthy trees can have on communities.

Benefits of a thriving urban canopy:

  • Increasing property value. The presence of larger street trees can add from 3% – 15% to home values.
  • Increasing spending in business districts. Shoppers spend 9% – 12% more for goods and services in central business districts with high quality tree canopies.
  • Improving driving safety by decreasing highway and mid-block crash rates.
  • Preventing crime. Public housing communities with more trees experience 52% fewer total crimes, 48% fewer property crimes, and 56% fewer violent crimes.
  • Keeping citizens healthier by trapping dust, pollen and smoke, resulting in cleaner, cooler air.
  • Providing environmental benefits like oxygen production, carbon dioxide absorption, erosion prevention, improved water quality, and providing wildlife habitat.

How can communities keep their trees healthy?

To keep urban forests in top condition, it’s important for communities to engage the services of certified arborists. City arborists are familiar with every tree in their community. They collect measurements, take photos, and store their data in a database or app. They use this data to create and apply Management Plans to maintain a healthy canopy and safeguard citizens.

Municipal arborists’ activities include:

  • forestry, ecology, hydrology, atmospheric science, energy, and stormwater control
  • developing a tree risk management program
  • tree inspections and assessments
  • insect and disease management
  • planting location identification
  • budgeting
  • interaction with the community, politicians and other agencies

How to care for your community’s trees

  • Adopt a tree ordinance.
  • Develop a tree risk management program that includes:
    • Systematic scheduled inspections of all trees in high occupancy areas.
    • A protocol for prioritizing mitigation.
    • Recordkeeping, reporting and communications.
    • Standard of care adopted.
    • Tree risk assessment specifications meeting ANSI A300 Part 9 standards
  • Hire dedicated staff to supervise your community’s Management Program and the budget.
  • Consult or use an ISA Certified Arborist (TRAQ trained).
  • Require community forestry training for tree board members on an ongoing basis, including:
    • GAA
    • CAA
    • GUFC
    • Basic Tree Care with GFC
    • Extension and online training
  • Have an annual budget for risk management and ongoing tree care.
  • Only use tree care practices that follow ANSI standards and tree risk specifications.
  • Through the news media, recognize your community tree advocates and celebrate your community’s trees.
  • Recruit and retain volunteers.

Community Resources

Check out these resources for tree care, education, and certifications.

TitleDescriptionDocument Type
American GroveSocial networking with tree enthusiasts, statewide and nationwide.External Website
Arbor DayResources and ideas for local celebrations.Page on GFC Website
Ask the ArboristOnline assistance for homeowner's questions about the trees in your yard.Page on GFC Website
Certified Arborist DirectoryCertified arborists are experienced professionals who have passed an extensive examination covering all aspects of tree care. Check this list for your city or county arborist if you have questions or concerns about street or park trees in your neighborhood.Page on GFC Website
Coastal Arborist AssociationThe Coastal Arborist Association (CAA) was founded in 2015 to provide education, training, and fellowship to arborists in the coastal region of Georgia and South Carolina.External Website
Coastal Bryan Tree FoundationTree advocacy group.External Website
Cobb TreesTree advocacy group.External Website
Community Forestry Assistance ProgramGFC’s Sustainable Community Forestry Program (SCFP) provides technical support to cities, counties, elementary schools, college campuses, home owners and nonprofit organizations.Page on GFC Website
Community Forestry Friend Program ApplicationThe Georgia Forestry Commission (GFC) is rewarding communities and campuses implementing
exemplary urban forestry programs with a Community Forestry Friend social media badge. Earning
the badge means your community manages its trees with the best urban and community forestry
practices, partners and professionalism. Download application to apply for the Community Forestry Friend program.
PDF
eLearn Urban Forestry (eXtension Campus)eLearn Urban Forestry is a distance-learning program for beginning urban foresters and allied professionals. These include foresters, natural resource planners, landscape architects, city officials and public works employees. (ISA credit and certificate of completion available)External Website
eLearn Urban Forestry (Southern Regional Extension Forestry)eLearn Urban Forestry is a distance-learning program for beginning urban foresters and allied professionals. These include foresters, natural resource planners, landscape architects, city officials and public works employees. (ISA credit not available)External Website
Emergency Response Plan for Community OfficialsAn effective storm plan will help to minimize a storm's impacts on your community forest. This Emergency Response Plan developed in Columbus, GA is a good example.PDF
Georgia Arborist AssociationA resource for tree care professionals and the public to protect and care for Georgia's trees.External Website
Georgia ReLeaf ProgramGeorgia ReLeaf efforts to help south Georgia communities replace tree canopy lost to severe storms and other communities planting trees for veterans.External Website
Georgia Tree CouncilTree advocacy group who works to sustain Georgia's green legacy by partnering with individuals, organizations, and communities in raising awareness toward improving and maintaining Georgia's community forests.External Website
Healthy Trees, Healthy Lives ResearchTake care of the forest, and it will take care of you. As research is being conducted and becoming available, findings reinforce what much of the urban forestry community already knows — that trees have a positive impact on human health. Check out research on why Healthy Trees make Healthy Lives.External Website
Homeowner’s Role in Maintaining the Urban ForestDownload this guide to get tips on maintaining trees, selecting an arborist and a homeowner tree survey checklist.PDF
Managing Storm Damaged Trees: Do’s and Don’tsCheck out this resource for the Do's and Don'ts on how to manage damaged trees from a storm. Includes: how to hire a professional for clean up, chainsaw safety, pruning and maintenance for damaged trees and more.PDF
Marietta TreeKeepersTree advocacy group.External Website
Park PrideTree advocacy group.External Website
Savannah Tree FoundationTree advocacy group.External Website
Save Energy – Plant Trees!This video provides insights into the value of planting trees.Video
Tree City USA, Tree Campus USA and Tree Line USA ProgramsCelebrating communities all across America that are creating healthier and more abundant community forests.Page on GFC Website
Trees AtlantaTree advocacy group.External Website
Trees ColumbusTree advocacy group.External Website
Urban Forest Strike TeamThis video outlines the work of GFC's Urban Forest Strike Team, which helps communities deal with the aftermath of severe storms.Video
Urban Forest Sustainability and Management Review – ChecklistThe Urban Forest Sustainability & Management Review System is designed to provide a framework for comprehensively evaluating urban forest management programs. This review system (the checklist and the process) can be used for municipal or county urban forest management programs, or to evaluate college or corporate campus management programsExternal Website