A compendium of information and inspiration assembled with love for present and future stewards of our urban forests.
A breeze rustles through the leaves of newly planted saplings in a small grove surrounded by broken pavement and concrete buildings once littered with graffiti. In years to come, the trees will be a source of shade and beauty where children can play and families can gather beneath the green canopy deep within the inner city. The city landscape, once bustling with the activities of progress, commerce and convenient living, has taken a new course.
A definite greening in the concrete jungle is taking hold. Tree planting projects, led by volunteers and dedicated professionals, are successfully bringing nature to the city and reuniting urban dwellers with the natural world around them. The urban forest is helping to cool and clean the air, providing shade and beauty for residents, improving property values and providing shelter for an array of wildlife.
Unlike the wildland forest that stretches uninterrupted by human activity for miles on end, the urban forest thrives around crowded highways, business complexes and convenience stores from a single tree planted in the corner of a parking lot to the thick woods of a city park. The emerging trend toward the growth and care of urban forests is opening new doors of opportunity to fulfilling careers for city dwellers who love nature and want to play a role in preserving the delicate environment.
As more and more people are drawn into the urban environment, the need to reconnect with nature is becoming more acute and activities surrounding the urban forest are likely to expand. Positions within urban forestry encompass a broad spectrum offering opportunities for people of all interests, backgrounds, education and experience levels. The vast network of professions includes tree trimmers, secretaries, nursery managers, retailers and scientists.
Urban Forestry, as defined by the Society of American Foresters, has at its root the function of contributing to the "physiological, sociological and economic well-being of urban society." Tree planting and tending nurtures not only the urban environment but the human spirit, and today, urban forestry is being used to help heal many social wounds including racial conflict, juvenile crime and urban blight.
Those embarking on new careers in the diverse fields of urban forestry may be assured that their work can help sustain and improve not only themselves, but the environment and communities we live in.