Urban & Community Forestry

Urban and Community Forestry Photograph

In lieu of Illinois' expansive 35.6 million-acre landscape (55,584 square miles), nearly 87 percent of Illinoisans reside in urban areas. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that community trees and forests, nearly 425,000 forested acres spread across 102 counties including 183 Certified Tree USA communities, are unique and essential biological features to the urban landscape. These trees and forests, from trees on private property, streets, parking lots, and college campuses to arboreta, forest preserves, parks, golf courses, and botanical gardens, provide countless benefits - some obvious and some not so obvious:

  • Produce oxygen and sequester carbon
  • Filter airborne particulates
  • Stabilize soil
  • Improve water quality
  • Habitat for urban dwelling wildlife
  • Moderate air temperature and wind
  • Reduce noise pollution
  • Reduce heating and cooling costs
  • Beautify the landscape and increase property values
  • Privacy, scenery, and shade
  • Educational opportunities
  • Recreation
  • Linked to reduced stress and crime

Helpful Links

University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point and University of Illinois, Trees and Ice Storms, 2nd Edition (PDF, 5.06MB)

Tree and Shrub Selection



Youth Education

Additional Links

Additional Contact

Reinee Hildebrandt, PhD
State Urban Forester
Illinois Department of Natural Resources
One Natural Resources Way
Springfield, IL 62702
Ph: (217)785-8771