We lead in innovation with new tools and scientific research
In our Innovation Lab, we solve complicated puzzles and empower the urban forestry field. We share climate change-informed forestry practices when determining what trees to plant, where to plant them and how to take care of them. And we can now calculate a Tree Equity Score for urban areas — cities and nearby small towns that have at least 50,000 people — across the United States. The score is an indicator of whether the neighborhood has the right number of trees so all people experience the health, economic and other benefits that trees provide. And it is based on such factors as the existing tree cover, population density, income, employment, race and ethnicity, age and urban heat island effect (as measured by surface temperature). This new platform allows city leaders, urban forestry professionals, and residents the ability to look at neighborhood-level scores across a city or region and identify where resources should be focused in order to close any gap in tree cover between neighborhoods.
Through our Tree Equity: Career Pathways Initiative we are closing the gap between urban forestry workforce needs and qualified workers. The focus of the initiative is training people from lower-income neighborhoods (where there are fewer jobs and trees) and placing individuals in urban forestry jobs.
We create place-based partnerships in cities and small towns
We create place-based partnerships in cities so we can work with others to develop and implement enduring, science-based data and plans that relate to planting trees and taking care of the trees we already have. Next, we advocate for local, state and/or federal policies and programs — as well as funding to support them — so we can bring the plans to life. Last, we plant and care for urban forests so they are healthy and resilient for generations to come. We’ve worked in more than 25 cities and are now focused on cities like Detroit, Boston, Phoenix and Rhode Island (at approximately 1,200 square miles, the entire state was designated an urban forest by the US Climate Alliance).
We build movements to protect and restore urban forests
We inspire and empower actions — such as the creation of new urban forestry policies — at a large scale. We do so in a variety of ways, including via Vibrant Cities Lab, the preeminent online resource for urban forestry research, tools and case studies. We created and, now, manage the site with the U.S. Forest Service and National Association of Regional Councils.
Many of our projects are geared toward bringing to life the two pledges we have made as part of the U.S. Chapter of 1t.org. We have pledged to plant 100 million trees in large forested landscapes and 1.2 million in cities across the U.S by 2030. Members of the chapter already have pledged 855 million trees in cities and large forested landscapes in the U.S. and overseas. They, too, have pledged to take on supporting actions, such as investing in mapping technology and carbon finance, worth billions of dollars. The chapter, created in August 2020, is led by American Forests and World Economic Forum. It is the only means in the U.S. for bringing together people who have made commitments related to forests so they can learn from each other and help each other achieve their goals.