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Urban Forest Management Plan

Collectively, the urban forest is one of the most important public assets in the City of Seattle. No other public good can clean the air, minimize urban flooding, absorb carbon, and provide shelter for wildlife while making our neighborhoods more livable and healthy. 

In 2007 the City created Seattle's first Urban Forest Management Plan. The City began the first revision of the UFMP in 2011, and earlier this year the City updated and revised the plan, changing the title to the Urban Forest Stewardship Plan to convey the importance of engaging Seattle residents and organizations along with City staff in the care of our urban forest. 

On September 16, 2013 the City Council voted unanimously to adopt Seattle's Urban Forest Stewardship Plan. The Plan is the result of a two year collaborative effort between the City, the Urban Forestry Commission, community groups and residents to produce a blueprint to preserve, maintain, restore and plant trees in Seattle.

What is in the Current Plan?

Vision Statement 
Seattle’s urban forest is a thriving and sustainable mix of tree species and ages that creates a contiguous and healthy ecosystem that is valued and cared for by the City and all of its citizens as an essential environmental, economic, and community asset.

Purpose of the Plan 
The purpose of the Urban Forest Management Plan is to guide a broad range of actions that will achieve a sustainable urban forest in Seattle. This is a 30-year plan that recommends the steps the City of Seattle must take to preserve Seattle’s trees and the cherished environment we have come to call “a city among the trees.” 

What is the Urban Forest?
Stated simply, Seattle’s urban forest consists of all trees in the city on both public as well as private property. This forest includes street trees, park trees, forested parklands, trees on institutional campuses, and trees in many private ownership settings. The urban forest touches the lives of Seattle’s citizens every day. Whether it’s enjoying a hike through old-growth forest in Seward Park or the fall colors on a drive along Lake Washington Boulevard, it is trees that comprise the urban forest and trees that make the experience magical. 

Why is it Important? 
Trees located throughout Seattle on public and private property affect our lives and the local economy in ways that aren’t always obvious. Trees provide community, environmental, and economic benefits that range from reducing the effects of density to increasing property values to providing ecological services such as stormwater mitigation, air toxics removal, and greenhouse gas sequestration.

Table of Zoning Categories, Current Canopy Cover and 2036 Canopy Goal

Zoning Category  Current Canopy Cover Canopy Cover Goal (2036)
 Single-Family  18%  33%
 Multi-Family  13%  20%
 Commercial / Mixed Use  8%  15%
 Downtown Seattle  9%  12%
 Industrial  8%  10%
 Major Institutions  15%  20%
 Parks: Developed  19%  25%
 Parks: Natural  64%  80%
 Citywide  18%  30%
 Right-of-Ways  16%  24%




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