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pink flowering tree in Balboa Park

An urban forest is an entire ecosystem that includes trees on both public and private property. However, unlike a natural forest, an urban forest needs help from people to survive. A vigorous and engaged urban forestry program is critical to providing a higher quality of life for residents and visitors in the City of San Diego.

Trees that are nurtured within an urban environment, produce benefits that far exceed the cost of planting and care during the trees' lifetime. Environmental and aesthetic benefits, such as energy savings, storm water runoff reduction, cleaner air, and higher property values, are consistently many times greater than tree care costs.

Urban Forest Management Plan

The City adopted a Five-Year Plan for its Urban Forestry Program in 2017.

The plan's three main goals are: Urban Forestry Program 2017

  1. Increase the City’s urban tree canopy cover and maximize the benefits of trees
  2. Maximize the efficiencies in maintaining the benefits of trees, and
  3. Minimize the risk of trees in an urban environment.

Urban forest management plans are developed through the collaborative efforts of many people. An important part of developing the plan is understanding the needs, views and interests of various stakeholders. Successful plans require public input. Visit the Get Involved webpage of the San Diego Planning Department if you are interested in issues, projects and programs that impact the quality of life in your community and the City overall.

Climate Action Plan

In 2015 the City of San Diego adopted a Climate Action Plan. Strategy 5 of the plan addresses climate resiliency by setting goals to increase the city’s tree canopy cover over the next several years. To reach those goals an implementation of an urban tree planting program is identified as a necessary step.

The Urban Forestry Program – 5 Year Plan builds upon the Climate Action Plan by identifying methods to implementing a tree planting initiative and identifying best management practices to maintaining and protecting the City’s existing tree resource.

San Diego Urban Forestry Program Information