The future of the urban forest: Philadelphia’s strategic plan for a healthy, equitable tree canopy.

The City of Philadelphia launched its first ever urban forest strategic planning process in 2020. In support of citywide equity and sustainability goals, the plan set out a 10-year strategy to grow, protect, and care for Philadelphia’s tree canopy, and set forth new ways of working with residents to combat climate change.

The plan provides recommendations to the City and its partners on how to best coordinate and strengthen their work on tree planting and maintenance, and what role policy can play to support a more tree-friendly culture across the city.

The final plan was guided by the following vision, mission, and goals:

Vision: Philadelphia will be home to a resilient and equitably distributed urban forest that helps residents thrive in every neighborhood of our city. Trees on public and private land in the city will be recognized as a vital part of city infrastructure and will provide environmental, social, economic and health benefits for all present and future Philadelphians. Our urban forest will be a source of pride for Philadelphians and will inspire advocacy and participation in tree planting and protection throughout the city.

Mission: To establish a 10 year strategic plan for the planting and care of the urban forest, guided by values of environmental justice, community engagement, and sustainability.


  • To communicate the social, economic and ecological value of the urban forest
  • To prioritize equity in service delivery, ensuring that the most vulnerable and underserved communities benefit from a healthy tree canopy
  • To facilitate collaboration and identify clearly defined roles among City agencies, nonprofits, scientists and engaged residents
  • To plan for the proactive planting and care of our urban forest
  • To identify funding goals and strategies for Philadelphia’s urban forest
  • To propose strong and enforceable public policy for the protection of our city trees
  • To build a culture of trust and collaboration between Philadelphia residents and the institutions that serve our urban forest

Consultants began work on the planning process in October 2020 and released the final plan in February 2023. A comprehensive public engagement effort accompanied the plan to gather input from stakeholders, community groups, and residents. Residents and media can join the mailing list to keep up to date on implementation efforts.


Project Team 

The Philly Tree Plan had two advisory committees:

The Community Voices Committee included about 30 city residents who are also tree advocates. They helped to guide the plan’s development, focus on neighborhood concerns and the urban forest, share their community-focused expertise, and include the needs, concerns, and hopes of their community in the plan.

The Steering Committee guided the project at key points in the planning process. The 20 members represented city, regional, and state agencies; local and national non-profit organizations; and funders.

To learn more about the project team, visit the Philly Tree Plan website.


Project Sponsors 

The Philly Tree Plan was supported by the William Penn Foundation, TD Bank, the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, and Knight Foundation.


Get involved! 

Learn more about the Philly Tree Plan.

Sign up to receive email updates about the plan.

Explore the tree canopy change data on the interactive map.

Get a free yard tree.