Under the authority of the Urban Forestry Act (PRC 4799.06 - 4799.12) the Urban & Community Forestry Program (UCF) works to expand and improve the management of trees and related vegetation in communities throughout California.
The mission of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection's Urban Forestry Program is to lead the effort to advance the development of sustainable urban and community forests in California. Trees provide energy conservation, reduction of storm-water runoff, extend the life of surface streets, improve local air, soil and water quality, reduce atmospheric carbon dioxide, improve public health, provide wildlife habitat and increase property values. In short, they improve the quality of life in our urban environments which, increasingly, are where Californians live, work, and play. The program also administers State and Federal grants throughout California communities to advance urban forestry efforts.
CAL FIRE's Fire and Resource Assessment Program (FRAP), The 2017 Assessment covers a broad range of topics across both private and public lands. Each chapter includes a number of indicators that collectively are used to evaluate the sustainability of forest and range lands. Chapter 3 of this assessment includes a detailed report on California's Urban and Community forests.
Seven Regional Urban Foresters provide expert urban forestry support to communities, non-profit groups and other municipal governments to create and maintain sustainable urban forests. These specialists also administer and provide technical support for grant related activities such as tree planting, municipal tree inventories and management plans, urban forest educational efforts, and innovative urban forestry projects.
The program's mission is accomplished in cooperation with many groups including:
- USFS Center for Urban Forest Research, urban forest researchers located in Davis.
- Urban Forestry Ecosystem Institute, at California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, urban forestry education and applied research.
- California ReLeaf, a non-profit organization that coordinates grants to local groups,
- California Urban Forest Council, a statewide non-profit comprised of diverse membership that advocates for the best possible urban forests in California.
Additional partners include, other state agencies, non-profit organizations, private urban forestry and arboricultural companies, power and utility companies, cities, counties, special districts, and professional organizations. These varied partners are brought together via the Director's advisory committee for urban and community forestry, the California Urban Forestry Advisory Committee (CUFAC). Together they discuss trends, address concerns, develop suggestions for consideration by CAL FIRE management, and provide support and information to their local communities on urban forestry issues.
California's State Urban Forestry Program also works with our Fire Prevention Program in advocating fire-safe landscaping for homeowners and communities. Landscape design, tree selection and maintenance are critical elements in reducing the spread of fire and the risk to adjacent buildings. Even well-designed landscapes can become hazardous if not properly maintained. The program encourages compliance with the defensible space requirement for communities in the urban wildland interface areas (PRC 4291), and offers suggestions for types of trees, landscape designs and pruning methods to assist homeowners in meeting that standard.
CAL FIRE Urban and Community Forestry is dedicated to California's efforts under AB32 to adapt to and mitigate climate change. Overall program guidance and project reporting and protocol resources can be found in the external link to the right on this page “California Global Warming Solutions Act (2006).” For more information about CAL FIREs statewide forestry strategies for reducing or mitigating greenhouse gas emissions, please visit our Climate Change and Energy page.
California Urban Forestry Advisory Committee
Purpose: The California Urban Forestry Advisory Committee (CUFAC) has been established to advise the Director of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) on the State’s Urban Forestry Program.
- California Urban Forestry Advisory Committee Charter (PDF)
- CAL FIRE Urban and Community Forestry Program Strategic Plan (PDF)
June 2018: The California Urban Forestry Advisory Committee (CUFAC) is seeking nominations for representatives. The positions are not compensated, but travel costs can be covered. The CUFAC meets 2-4 times per year for 1-2 days each time. Members are appointed by the Director for a three-year term and cannot serve more than two terms consecutively. The purpose and duties of this advisory body can be found in the CUFAC Charter (link above). New nominees and those seeking a second term to serve in one of the positions below, need to fill out the nomination form and follow the submittal instructions.
- County Government (1)
- City/Town Government (1)
- Forest products, nursery, or related private industries (1)
- An electric utility industry representative (1)
- Urban Forestry or Arboriculture private industry (1)
- Urban Forestry, landscape, or design consultant (1)
- UC Cooperative Extension (1)
- US Forest Service (1)
- Local Urban Forestry Non- Profit Organization (1)
- State-Wide Urban Forestry Non-Profit (1)
Tree Growing, Buying and Care Guidelines
- Guideline Specifications for Nursery Tree Quality (PDF)
- Strategies for Growing a High-Quality Root System, Trunk, and Crown in a Container Nursery (PDF)
- Tree Quality Cue Card (PDF)
- Tree Quality Cue Card (Espanol) (PDF)
- Tree Planting Cue Card (PDF)
- Tree Planting Cue Card (Espanol) (PDF)
- Tree Training Cue Card (PDF)
- Tree Training Cue Card (Espanol) (PDF)
- Root Management Cue Card (PDF)
- Root Management Cue Card (Espanol) (PDF)
- Structural Purning - Medium-aged Trees (PDF)
- Pruning at Planting (PDF)
- Restoring Topped Trees (PDF)
- Water-Wise Young Tree Care (PDF)
- Water-Wise Mature Tree Care (PDF)
- Watering Young Trees During Drought - How To Video
- Watering Mature Trees During Drought - How To Video