The mission of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection's Urban Forestry Program is to lead the effort to advance the development of sustainable urban and community forests in California.

Trees provide energy conservation, reduction of storm-water runoff, extend the life of surface streets, improve local air, soil and water quality, reduce atmospheric carbon dioxide, improve public health, provide wildlife habitat and increase property values. In short, they improve the quality of life in our urban environments which, increasingly, are where Californians live, work, and play.  The program also administers State and Federal grants throughout California communities to advance urban forestry efforts.

A group of trees ready to be planted

We Administer Grants

UCF staff administer and provide technical support for grant-related activities such as tree planting, municipal tree inventories, management plans, urban forest educational efforts, and innovative urban forestry projects.  As of January 2022, the UCF Program is administering or preparing to award approximately 117 grants funded by State sources (California Climate Investments (CCI), bonds, and General Fund) and 12 sub-grants using Federal sources (US Forest Service).
UCF Grants - Tree planting
The purpose of CAL FIRE’s Urban and Community Forestry Grant Program is to help create a sustainable urban forest and increase the long-term benefits trees provide, improve the public’s understanding and appreciation of urban trees, and advance urban forest management and tree care. Special consideration is given to projects serving disadvantaged and/or low-income communities.
A tree lined neighborhood street

Provide Technical Assistance

UCF staff serve as technical experts in urban forestry. The statewide team supports organizations that focus on improving urban forests and stakeholders such as municipalities, counties, schools and special districts, non-profit organizations, advisory or advocacy groups, other state agencies, research institutions, and individuals/volunteers. CAL FIRE also works closely with partner organizations who provide technical assistance to individuals.
UCF Staff
The California Urban Forestry Advisory Committee (CUFAC) has been established to advise the Director of CAL FIRE on the state’s Urban and Community Forestry Program. CUFAC reviews and recommends UCF Program outreach, partnership, and other activities including the program’s contributions to Climate Action strategies.
An oragami town with lush green oragami trees surrounding it

Develop and Support Equity and Outreach Programs

Project Learning Tree, Tree City USA, Arbor Day events, the California Model Water Efficient Landscape Ordinance (MWELO) and associated water conservation outreach, Western Chapter of the International Society of Arboriculture, workforce development, tree care industry standards updates, and encouraging urban dwellers to develop a stewardship ethic for natural resources.
A city scape with a large number of mature trees on all streets
The UCF Program’s mission is accomplished in cooperation with many groups across the state and beyond. The development of sustainable urban and community forests in California calls for a combined effort using a variety of tools and involving partnerships at the federal, state, and local levels.