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Urban forests are dynamic and our relationship and commitment to it must be long term and ever evolving.

With that in mind, over the course of nearly three years, the Urban Forestry Task Force (UFTF) produced a report concerning Madison's urban forest. The task force members included residents, elected officials and city staff. In January 2020, the Common Council approved the final report.

The report covers many topics from the composition of Madison's urban canopy, to the importance of trees to our city, to how trees connect with equity issues. The report outlined several goals and recommendations for Madison to achieve a diverse, resilient, and thriving urban canopy that will benefit us all.

Read the full report here.


goals from the urban forestry task force report

The goals & recommendations are grouped into four main categories. 

Below is a summary of the categories.

Read the full report for a complete listing of all the goals and recommendations put forth by the UFTF.

Planning & Design

  • In order for trees to thrive, they must be comprehensively integrated into the City of Madison's infrastructure and building practices. Issues affecting trees and tree health should be  addressed as early as possible into land use decision making processes.

Outreach & Education

  • An engaged and empowered citizenry is crucial to the future preservation, growth, and sustainability of the urban forest. Outreach strategies should be utilized to engage diverse groups from developers to neighborhood groups to help increase understanding about our urban forest.

Canopy Coverage

  • Growth strategies should be directed at the neighborhood level and should address the substantial disparities in specific communities with the goal of achieving the optimal tree canopy coverage of 40% overall, as outlined by the American Forests Association for urban areas. The last canopy analysis completed by Wisconsin DNR (based on 2013 imagery data)  measured  Madison's tree canopy coverage at  23%.

Forestry Operations & Public Lands

  • Approximately 20% of the total urban forest lies on public lands. Madison should make use of public lands to increase tree canopy cover and integrate appropriate technologies to help manage the urban forest.