Washington, D.C., Urban Forest Fact Sheet

Georgetown waterfront. Javier Ignacio Acuña Ditzel

City Statistics

Population+ 601,723
Land area by acres* 39,297
Park acreage* 7,464

+Based on the 2010 U.S. Census
*Courtesy of The Trust for Public Land


Washington D.C. Urban Forest Facts*

  • The city has 1,928,000 trees.
  • Most common tree species are American beech, red maple and boxelder.
  • Approximately 56 percent of trees are less than six inches in diameter.
  • The city’s trees:
    • Remove 540 tons of pollution per year, valued at $2.5 million.
    • Store 526,000 tons of carbon, valued at $9.7 million.
    • Sequester 16,200 tons of carbon per year, valued at $9.7 million.
    • Reduce building energy usage by $2.6 million per year, which results in value of $96,000 in avoided carbon emissions.
    • Have a structural value of $3.6 billion.
  • D.C.’s urban tree canopy is 35 percent.+

* As reported in “Assessing Urban Forest Effects and Values,” which was developed for Washington, D.C., in 2006 by the U.S. Forest Service
Northern Research Station
+ As reported to American Forests in its survey of the 50 most populous U.S. cities.


Top 10 Criteria

Urban Forest Management Plan Yes, first completed in 2010 and reviewed every two years
Urban Canopy Goal Yes, supported by, but not mandated by, the city government
Quality of Urban Forest Compared to Others in Region Normal, which means some biotic damage and invasive species, some anthropogenic disturbance and some chemical and runoff issues
Tree Inventory Yes, covering public and private land, as well as a street tree inventory and an iTree Eco survey conducted every five years
Tree Species Diversity Plan Yes
Tree Ordinances Yes, for both public and private lands covering hazard and other trees
Comprehensive Greening Plans Yes, including a Sustainability Plan and Climate Change Plan; a Green Infrastructure Plan is being developed
Types of Greening Initiatives Protection of open spaces; natural resource restoration;urban forests for environmental justice initiatives; urban forests as part of planning for runoff, erosion and/or flooding; green jobs training; active involvement of environmental stewardship groups
Park Acres per 1,000 People 12.40
Percentage of Land as Park 18.99
Quality of Civic Engagement Good to excellent, with citywide stewardship and neighborhood interactions
Tree City USA* Yes
Conference of Mayors Climate Protection Agreement Signatory Yes

*Designation awarded by The Arbor Day Foundation to cities that have a tree board or department, a tree care ordinance, a community forestry program with an annual budget of at least $2 per capita and an Arbor Day observance and proclamation.

Critical Issues