Urban areas are already experiencing impacts of a changing climate including increased temperatures, flooding, and extreme storms. These impacts are projected to increase in frequency and magnitude over the next century, leading many cities to develop plans to adapt and prepare for these challenges. Increasing tree canopy is often considered in urban climate change adaptation plans, where trees can help reduce local heat island effects, control storm water, and improve air quality. Although urban trees can be an important part of adaptation solutions, they also can be vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. Harsher summer temperatures, potential summer droughts, heavy winds, flooding, and increased pests and diseases can all stress urban trees. These urban trees may be experiencing stress from improper planting, restricted rooting conditions, road salt, and air pollution already, and therefore extremely vulnerable to climate change.
Many urban foresters have recognized the need to incorporate climate change considerations into urban forest management, but often lack the specialized training or knowledge to explicitly address this in their planning and practices. The USDA Climate Hubs and partners are coordinating efforts to address the major challenges that urban foresters face when considering how to integrate climate change into their planning and management activities. Tools and resources are compiled on this website, not to be prescriptive but to be supportive and to help provide pathways for individuals to devise management responses suitable to specific goals and objectives on the landscape. The Hub will continually incorporate new information, ideas, and lessons learned to shape the components of this emerging effort.
More information on Urban Forests can be found at the USDA Forest Service Climate Change Resource Center www.fs.usda.gov/ccrc/topics/urban-forests/