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Start or Improve
a municipal forestry program.
Apply
for an Urban Forestry grant.
Prepare
your community for emerald ash borer using the EAB Toolbox.
Explore
Wisconsin’s urban forests.
Contact information
DNR urban forestry staff

Wisconsin's Urban Forests

According to a 2012 study, Wisconsin has an estimated 42.8 million urban trees, with a replacement value of $19.3 billion. Trees in and immediately surrounding Wisconsin's urban areas provide annual energy savings to residents of $78.9 million, remove $47.6 million worth of air pollution and store $507 million worth of carbon. Based on analysis of Landsat imagery from 2001, the average tree cover in urban or community areas in Wisconsin is about 19.8 percent, with 16.2 percent impervious surface cover and 23.6 percent of the total green space covered by tree canopy cover. Learn more about Wisconsin's urban forest resource.

i-Tree applications

You can assess the characteristics and benefits of your own community's trees using free i-Tree [exit DNR] applications. For example, i-Tree Streets lets you quantify the air quality benefit of your street tree population. You can also assess urban forest benefits citywide by estimating the amount of tree cover in your community with i-Tree Canopy or via LiDAR remote sensing. See City of Fitchburg, WI [PDF] example.

Depiction of value provided by Fox Valley Metro Area public street trees
Fox Valley metro street tree benefits.

Metropolitan areas throughout northeast Wisconsin have been assessed using both i-Tree Streets and Canopy. In the Green Bay metro area, public trees provide $6.14 million in annual benefits and the area is covered by 24 percent tree canopy with potential for 56 percent more canopy cover. In the Fox Valley metro area, public trees provide $4.89 million in annual benefits and the area is covered by 20 percent tree canopy with potential for 55 percent more canopy cover. The results of those analyses are illustrated in the following fact sheets:

Urban tree diversity challenges

Though generally healthy, Wisconsin's urban tree portfolio lacks diversity. Boxelder, ash and white pine are the predominant urban trees, but just two species—maple and ash—comprise 43 percent. Species diversity is even more limited along urban roadways, where maple and ash comprise 63 percent. Wisconsin's low level of urban tree diversity poses risk of catastrophic loss due to forest pests such as Asian longhorned beetle (maple) and emerald ash borer (ash). Municipalities and residents can improve the resiliency of their urban forest by opting to plant less common, site-appropriate trees.

How to Choose the Right Landscape Plants [PDF exit DNR]

Last Revised: Thursday May 05 2016