The philosophy of the Community Trees Program is that all trees, on both public and private land, together form an urban and community forest that is as important a part of a community’s infrastructure as streets, water mains, and other infrastructure that helps a community function.
Collectively, the green infrastructure of trees and ecosystems provide valuable services and benefits:
- Their leafy canopies and spreading roots absorb rainwater, helping to reduce flooding and replenish groundwater.
- Their beauty makes neighborhoods more livable and improve property values.
- Their roots hold topsoil.
- Their shade saves energy in homes and buildings.
- They shelter wildlife, including birds that control insect populations.
- They cleanse our air and water
- They store carbon and release oxygen.
- They help form the character of a community and inform seasonal changes.
Just like other infrastructure, trees in urban areas need people to maintain and even protect them. The goal of the Community Trees Program is to provide people with the knowledge and tools to help trees live long, productive lives resulting in improved quality of life.
The Community Trees Program was established in 2002 with support from the Grace Bersted Foundation. It is an integral part of the Chicago Region Trees Initiative and builds on findings of the Regional Tree Census that was produced in cooperation with the US Forest Service.