Tree City USA: Celebrating the Importance of Urban Tree Canopies

With the Benefits of Strong and Sustainable Urban Forestry Programs, Communities Can Thrive.
Jan 7, 2021 9:00 AM ET

The Tree City USA program has strengthened and sustained urban forests across the country thanks to support of Foundation members and partners. From the Gulf of Alaska to the Gulf Coast, nearly 155 million Americans are living in Tree City USA towns and cities that pay particular attention to tree planting, management, and care.

As a result, these communities enjoy profound environmental and community benefits, including lower urban temperatures, cleaner air and water, increased property values, lower energy bills, neighborhood beauty, and civic pride. The program has been the foundation for city forestry management, and its impact is deep and far-reaching.

One community committed to its trees is Boise, Idaho. With both Tree City USA and Tree Cities of the World recognition, this community has formulated a long-term plan to plant 100,000 trees in the next 10 years, many on private land. The city has partnered with the local Treasure Valley Canopy Network to put the plan into action — increasing tree canopy, improving the environment, and combating the negative effects of climate change.

In addition to proponents in the city’s Parks and Recreation department, this initiative has gotten strong support from the Boise City Council. “These trees will provide shade and comfort and support clean air and energy conservation for generations to come,” said City Council President Elaine Clegg.

In its 44th year, the Tree City USA program is still going strong. As a sign of its vitality, 89 communities applied for and received Tree City USA recognition for the very first time this year.

Tree City USA is the framework for urban forests across the country. Thanks to our members and partners, the program’s impact is broad and enduring. Within the support of this framework, additional city foresters and arborists are hired, city budgets include worthwhile investments in trees, and millions of Americans are taking pride in community improvement.

View the Arbor Day Foundation's full 2020 Annual Report.