This website is a central clearinghouse for all things related to forests and watersheds. There have been many recent efforts towards managing urban forests for watershed health that have resulted in a variety of highly useful tools and training materials. This site compiles these resources into a format that can be easily accessed and downloaded.

In case you’re wondering what the big deal is about forests…

Trees are the oldest and largest living things on the earth, and they are a good measure of the health and quality of our environment. Urban forests are located on public and private land right in our own back yard. They line our city streets and highways; make our towns, parks and recreation areas beautiful; and add life to the landscape of concrete. Urban trees help to clean the air of pollution and provide oxygen. They reduce stormwater runoff and when located properly they can even lower heating and cooling costs. As urbanization and sprawl expands into rural areas of our watersheds, forests become an increasingly important resource to all who live there.

The site is organized by four major categories. If you’d like to access a webinar that summarizes what is contained on the site and how it is organized, click here. Otherwise, keep reading and let the questions below guide you to the appropriate page or just start browsing! Also check out our list of most popular tools at the bottom of the page!


1. Forest Planning and Assessment 

  • Do you need help setting an urban tree canopy goal for your community?
  • Are you unsure how to prioritize planting locations and forest conservation tracts in your watershed?
  • Do you need training materials to teach others how to estimate future impacts to forests from development?
  • Want to know more about the link between forests and drinking water?

Go to the Forest Planning and Assessment page. This page explains why it is important to do community or watershed-scale assessment and planning for forest management. It provides links to our Urban Watershed Forestry, Urban Tree Canopy, and Forests and Drinking Water webpages as well as several resources that apply to both the community and watershed scale.


2.  Reducing Stormwater Runoff


  • Do you want to learn how trees can help reduce stormwater runoff?
  • Are you interested in incorporating trees into your stormwater treatment practices?
  • Are you looking for some examples of stormwater credit systems for trees?

Go to the Reducing Stormwater Runoff page. This page describes how trees reduce stormwater runoff and how trees can be incorporated into stormwater management regulations and designs. It provides links to a variety of tools for stormwater engineers and others on topics such as stormwater credits, accounting for trees in runoff models and calculators, and innovative stormwater designs that utilize trees.


3. Forest Friendly Development


  • Do you want to make your community’s codes and ordinances more forest friendly?
  • Do you need help preserving trees at a development site in your community?
  • Are you looking for examples of forest friendly communities to convince your elected officials to change local regulations?

Go to the Forest-Friendly Development page. This page describes a series of practices a community can use to protect existing forest resources and prevent forest loss while still allowing for development. It includes links to resources on forest friendly site design and tools for evaluating your community’s programs and regulations to determine how to make them more forest friendly.


4. Planting and Maintaining Trees


  • Do you want to know the correct way to plant a tree?
  • Are you unsure what species to plant or where to plant it?
  • Do you need some tools to teach others how to plant and maintain trees?

Go to the Planting and Maintaining Trees page. This page explains why urban trees have a much shorter lifespan than their rural counterparts and why tree planting in urban areas is so different. It provides links to tools on trees planting, considerations for planting in various urban locations, site assessment, species selection, tree planting and maintenance.


Quick Links to Most Popular Resources:

If you know of a really good urban forestry resource that is not listed on this site, contact Karen Cappiella at kc@cwp.org. Thanks!

This website was developed by the Center for Watershed Protection with funding from the USDA Forest Service, Northeastern Area State and Private Forestry and The Home Depot Foundation.