Publication Date

March 2023

Columbus, Ohio, faces many challenges, both today and in the near future: rapid population growth, climate change, public health issues, and the fastest growing urban heat island in the country (Climate Central, 2014). Tree canopy has been identified as vital city infrastructure, as trees reduce urban stressors — cleaning the air and water, improving public health, providing shade, reducing heat stress and energy costs, intercepting stormwater and more. As the 14th largest city in the country with only 22% canopy cover, the City of Columbus recognized the need to plan for its trees. The Columbus Urban Forestry Master Plan (UFMP) is the first citywide, strategic plan to improve Columbus residents’ quality of life through investment in urban trees. Approved by Columbus City Council in April 2021, the UFMP guides the entire Columbus community to prioritize, preserve and grow our tree canopy. The UFMP sets three tree canopy goals: 1.) Reach Citywide Tree Canopy Cover of 40% by 2050, 2.) Stop the Net Canopy Losses by 2030 and 3.) Invest in Equitable Canopy Across All Neighborhoods by 2030. To accomplish these goals, the UFMP details four strategies: community coordination and collaboration, best practices, dedicated resources and stronger policies.