USDA Urban and Community Forestry Program
This U.S. Forest Service program aims to promote forest health and enhance community resilience in both urban and rural communities through information and technical assistance. One of the program’s strategic focus areas (as outlined in the 2016-2026 Ten-Year Urban Forestry Action Plan) is Diversity, Equity, and Leadership, with program goals including engaging underserved communities in urban forestry efforts, increasing workforce development opportunities in community forestry, promoting expanded collaboration, and more. To promote the goals underlined in its Action Plan, the U.S. Forest Service provides grants under its National Urban Forestry Challenge Cost Share Grant Program.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Forest Service’s Urban and Community Forestry Program seeks to restore and sustain the health of community and urban forests. In order to achieve these goals, the Forest Service developed the Ten-Year Urban Forest Action Plan, which focuses on topics such as Planning, Human Health, Diversity, Equity, and Leadership, Environmental Health, Management, Funding, and Education and Awareness.
This plan aims to, among other things, diversify and generate funding for Urban and Community forest projects while cultivating equity and leadership within the forestry community. Its goals for equity include increasing accessibility in forestry, engaging underserved communities, increasing workforce development opportunities, and promoting expanded collaboration.
Local Urban and Community Forestry Funding & Assistance
The Forest Service’s Urban and Community Forestry (UCF) program provides technical and financial assistance to local communities through state and regional UCF Program offices. This assistance includes tree planting and maintenance, municipal code development, tree inventories and assessments, and more. State UCF programs receive guidance from The National Urban and Community Forestry Advisory Council.
National Urban Forestry Challenge Cost Share Grant Program
The National Urban and Community Forestry Advisory Council oversees the Ten-Year Urban Forest Action Plan. In this role, they develop annual grant categories and select grant proposals that will help forward the goals outlined in the plan. Grants are submitted under the Forest Service’s National Urban Forestry Challenge Cost Share Grant Program.
The Grant Program seeks proposals that strengthen urban and community forest resiliency and promote forest health. Focus areas for solutions may comprise of research, planning, policy, preparedness, implementation, disease prevention, reforestation, management practices, and recovery strategies.
Applicants are eligible to apply for grants if:
- they are a U.S. Non-Federal and Tribal Organization operating within the United States or its territories,
- their proposal addresses national, multi-state, or multi-tribal-land urban and community forestry issues, and
- their proposed project is on non-federal public land.
Applicants are not eligible if their proposed project is to be implemented only on a local scale. All grants funds must be matched at least equally by non-Federal source funds, and matching funds must be directly related to the proposed project, with the source being identified. Funded by Title 9 of the Cooperative Forestry Assistance Act, the 2020 National Urban and Community Forestry Grant Program is anticipated to provide approximately $900,000 in funds to projects.
- Land use and built environment
- Land management and conservation
- Education/training materials
- Funding program