By Jessica Hernandez
A healthy urban forest can provide numerous benefits to the communities in which they flourish. Trees are a part of community green infrastructure and provide environmental, social and economic benefits to all urban residents.
To conserve, protect and enhance America’s urban and community forests and the benefits they provide, state forestry agencies work with many partners including federal agencies, non-profits, educational institutions and municipal governments. The results from these collaborative efforts are leading to healthier communities across the United States.
Several events or milestones have taken place in our nation's capital recently and I'm pleased to share some of these highlights with you today!
- The National Urban and Community Forestry Advisory Council (NUCFAC) recently facilitated the development of the 10-year Urban Forestry Action Plan that identifies specific goals, actions, and recommendations for improving the status of urban and community forestry for the United States and its territories. Nebraska State Forester Scott Josiah is a member of NUCFAC, an appointed advisory council to the Secretary of Agriculture. In addition, a new report was released that identifies research needs for urban forest ecosystems and metro nature for the next decade.
- NASF recently welcomed Earl Eustler as its member from the District of Columbia. Eutsler works for the Urban Forestry Administration District Department of Transportation.
- The U.S. Forest Service’s National Technology & Science Delivery Team held its annual meeting in the District from March 1st-2nd. This team is co-led by the USDA Forest Service’s Urban and Community Forestry and Research and Development teams. It facilitates collaboration, knowledge sharing, and science delivery efforts across the State & Private Forestry and Research & Development deputy areas. The meeting was followed by a retreat for the Urban and Community Regional Program Managers on March 3rd.
- Eustler collaborated with the Forest Service to host a field tour for both groups on March 2nd that focused on subsurface support of urban trees, leveraging remote sensing to speed the inventory of trees on public properties, and DC’s Yards Park and Green Infrastructure. “The efforts highlighted during our recent tour support the elements in our Forest Action Plan focused on conserving and enhancing our urban forest resources, which in turn support water quality, provide habitat, and generally create more livable conditions for residents and visitors to the District of Columbia,” Eutsler said.
- On March 17th, the Sustainable Urban Forest Coalition’s (SUFC) 2016 Annual Meeting was held at The Nature Conservancy’s (TNC) worldwide office in Arlington, Virginia. This Coalition brings together many of the key organizations working to advance a unified urban forest agenda. A reception was also held on March 16 at the U.S. Botanic Garden, where both Congressman David Joyce (OH) and U.S. Forest Service Associate Chief Mary Wagner were in attendance and spoke passionately about the work of the Coalition, the urban and forestry community, and the state and urban forests.
- In May, the Northeastern Area Association of State Foresters’ Urban and Community Forestry Committee’s annual meeting will take place in DC. Participants will make recommendations regarding policies affecting urban and community forestry on the state, regional and national level, and will tour water quality and green infrastructure sites around the city.