What we do
OHIO URBAN FORESTRY PROGRAM
PURPOSE STATEMENT: A significant majority of Ohioans live and/or work within urban areas. The quality of life for them and their families is dependent upon the urban environment. Healthy, safe, and functional trees enhance this environment by promoting clean air and water, increasing property values, reducing erosion and stormwater runoff, providing wildlife habitat, moderating temperature, lessening energy demands, and offering year-round enjoyment. Without a vibrant urban forest the condition of our lives would appreciably diminish.
Ohio’s Urban Forestry Program was created in 1979 within the Ohio Department of Natural Resources to promote trees and other vegetation as tools to enhance the quality of life within our cities, villages, and townships. Our purpose is to provide community officials and allied agencies with the organizational and technical ability to effectively manage the trees along streets, within parks, and on public grounds. Through a statewide network of regional urban foresters, we help communities manage their urban forest resources to meet their local needs.
OBJECTIVE: Through this program, we envision an improved quality of urban life for all Ohio communities. We believe this can only be achieved when comprehensive urban forestry programs (organizations within the community infrastructure that have the authority and ability to effectively manage its urban forest resource) are integrated and on par with other community services.
STRATEGY: A four-phase strategy will be used to meet the stated objective.
1) Direct Assistance: Regional urban foresters, through one-on-one assistance, will encourage, enhance, and/or expand local tree care programs within participating communities (cities, villages, and townships). Through technical knowledge, the urban foresters will convey the benefits of a safe, healthy, and functional urban forest resource to community leaders. Using organizational skills they will demonstrate how to effectively provide these benefits by properly managing the urban forest resource.
2) Grant Program: An urban forestry grant program, funded by federal, state, and/or private sector monies, will be administered for Ohio communities when available. The grant program will be based on community commitment rather than community need. These will be reimbursable grants requiring a 50/50 match, used to promote comprehensive tree care programs.
3) Information Facilitation: Ohio’s Urban Forestry Program will provide information to help communities successfully implement their urban forest management programs. Regional and statewide activities will include:
- A World Wide Web site for the efficient dissemination and communication of information.
- A yearly networking meeting for Ohio’s city foresters.
- Annual urban forestry conferences for local community officials and interested citizens.
- Tree Commission Academy classes.
- Click here for a list of current meetings.
4) Urban Forest Threats and Pressures: The Urban Forestry Program will strive to identify and help mitigate potential risk to Ohio's urban forests. By partnering with federal and state agencies, we will help communities prepare for, avoid, or deal with factors that would adversely affect their urban forest resource.
CONCLUSION: During the last thirty years, the awareness level of municipal officials to the benefits that properly managed trees bestow upon their community has markedly increased. The challenge for Ohio’s Urban Forestry Program is to constantly channel this awareness into long-term urban forestry commitment at the local level. As Ohio continues to urbanize, this need increases, as does our obligation to enhance the quality of life in our cities, villages, and townships through healthy and productive urban forests.