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Urban Forestry

1000 Friends of Wisconsin advocates for and helps expand urban and community forests around Wisconsin.

Urban forestry provides Wisconsin communities a number of benefits including the use of street trees as tools for creating more climate resilient communities. We work with partners at the community and state level to ensure the benefits of urban forests reach all Wisconsinites.

Street Tree Benefits include:

  • Stormwater runoff impacts:
    • -Reduce total amount of runoff
    • -Slow runoff infiltration into the ground, which can reduce local flooding
    • -Take up pollutants and stop them from entering local waterways
  • Sequester CO2 and remove other air pollutants from the atmosphere (watch how and why trees clean our air)
  • Reduce energy demands (when trees are properly planted)
  • Mitigate the urban heat island effect
  • Provide traffic calming
  • Increase urban wildlife habitat, including providing stopover habitat for migrating birds
  • Raise property values
  • Mental and physical health benefits

Taking Action

Community Level 

  • Adopt a tree friendly ordinance
    • Institute a pay-back ordinance when private trees are planted (example., 3:1 municipality plants three trees for every tree a resident plants)
  • Become a Tree City USA
    • The Tree City USA program is a nationwide movement that provides the framework necessary for communities to manage and expand their public trees.
  • Participate in Wisconsin DNR’s Community Tree Management Institute (CTMI)
    • The CTMI is a training program to help municipal staff with limited urban forestry experience, but who are responsible for tree care, manage street trees

State Level

1000 Friends’ Community Project Coordinator, Abe Lenoch, is a current member of the Wisconsin Urban Forestry Council and we support the following recommendations made by the Council:

  • Advocate for urban forestry grants program funding to remain at current level or for it to be raised
  • Allow invasive insect and disease control to qualify for catastrophic event grant dollars under the Wisconsin DNR Urban Forestry grant program
  • Allow tree canopy to be used as credits for municipal MS4 permits

Working with Communities

1000 Friends partnered with Green Tier Legacy Communities (GLTC) and the Wisconsin DNR Urban Forestry program to add 350 street trees to urban forests in four Wisconsin communities.

We regularly seek similar funding opportunities to increase urban and community forest canopy across the state.

Emerald Ash Borer (EAB)

Since 2008, Wisconsin has seen a harsh decline in ash trees due to the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB). The impact of EAB has been especially detrimental because of the ubiquity of ash trees in Wisconsin communities. They are the second most common genus planted behind maple. See the Wisconsin DNR EAB mortality map by county below.

As EAB continues to reduce urban forest canopy in Wisconsin, 1000 Friends is working with communities to replant a diversity of street tree species to replenish the affected urban landscape.

EAB Tree damage by county