Harrisonburg (VA) Urban Forest Management Plan (in progress)
The City of Harrisonburg, Virginia is a vibrant and diverse community, and as such is experiencing steady population growth and increased commercial and residential development. The community is also being challenged by climate change, public health concerns, and other pressures related to the urban environment.
Keenly aware that its public trees are a valuable municipal asset, the City of Harrisonburg is capitalizing on the many services trees provide as a solution to the current challenges.
Supported with a grant from the Virginia Department of Forestry, Harrisonburg joined with Urban Canopy Works to develop its first Urban Forest Management Plan. The five-year plan was developed to improve and better coordinate the management of trees and forests in the City of Harrisonburg, and to lay the foundation for a more proactive tree planting and maintenance program. The plan’s analyses and recommendations will help ensure the City’s urban forest management program will move forward in a reasonable way and will be based on sound science and policies.
Urban Canopy Works’ senior urban foresters performed extensive background research, conducted interviews, reviewed public documents, analyzed public tree inventory data and previous studies, and reviewed public survey data. Based on this comprehensive work, the Management Plan discussed and made recommendations specifically related to:
The overall condition and diversity of the public urban forest
Tree planting and increased canopy cover opportunities
Improved proactive public tree maintenance
Improved ordinances and policies
Enhanced organizational structure and funding
Expanded education and public relations
Through the creation and implementation of this first Urban Forest Management Plan, Harrisonburg affirms that trees are a significant component of the City’s urban environment and an integral part of its infrastructure that deserves detailed and professional management.