The Power of Urban Trees

Around 80% of the U.S. population lives in urban areas—and faces particular climate risks. Cities are dominated by pavement, buildings, and dense infrastructure that hold heat and are prone to flooding from stormwater runoff. These built environments can amplify the risks associated with extreme heat and heavy rainfall events made more likely in our warming climate.

Alongside buildings and pavement, U.S. urban areas also contain an estimated 5.5 billion trees that provide important benefits to people. A growing body of research shows that urban trees and greenspaces support healthy, equitable, and resilient cities. At the same time, urban forests are themselves vulnerable to urbanization and climate change; they require adequate stewardship to continue benefiting communities.