Regional Trees Initiative

The Morton Arboretum is leading the development and implementation of the Regional Trees Initiative, a strategy to improve the vitality and sustainability of the region's trees.

Building on findings from the Regional Tree Census produced in cooperation with the USDA Forest Service, the Arboretum has established a coalition of agency, industry, and community representatives to expand the understanding of the value of the region's trees and to make meaningful tree and forest improvements in the region.

Openlands is serving as lead collaborator in the initiative, spearheading a community tree planting and stewardship effort as well as advising on opportunities for greenways and other cross-jurisdictional partnerships.

The 5-year vision of the Regional Trees Initiative is to ensure that the region's tree population is broadly understood, its collaborative management opportunities are identified and enacted, and a 2040 goal for the population is clearly underway, with interim actions understood and subscribed to by all partners.

The desired outcome after five years is measurable improvements in the health and vigor of the region's trees. Specific measures and targets will be developed for one- and five-year goals.

The myriad issues require considerable gathering, analysis and discussion in order to develop a strategy that is pragmatic, actionable and measurable. Stakeholders across the region, both in the public and private sectors, including public and private landowners, must engage and take ownership in the steps necessary to ensure a healthy forest for the region.