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City of Philadelphia

Urban Forestry & Ecosystem Management

The mission of the Division of Urban Forestry and Ecosystem Management is to protect and manage Philadelphia’s natural resources for the health of the ecosystems and the benefit of the citizens of the city and region. This division consists of several groups including Ecosystem Management, Natural Resources Management and Urban Forestry.

Urban Forestry

Maintenance and Management

The role of the Urban Forestry Group is to understand the urban forest in the context of the larger urban ecosystem, to use best management practices to assure that the forest is maintained in good health. They work with the other groups of the Division to establish realistic tree canopy goals, and to develop and implement a canopy planting plan which will maximize the benefits that the urban forest provides to the community and its citizens. They are responsible for tree maintenance and preservation in all park areas, and street tree maintenance when necessary.
Forms & Permits

Contract and Inspection Management

This group is responsible for managing the component of the urban forest along streets in the city. They are responsible for inspecting and recommending plantings on all park and recreation land with the exception of the watershed parks. They inspect trees for signs of proper maintenance and care; diagnose tree diseases, pests and environmental stresses; determine sites and species for tree planting requests; perform hazardous tree evaluations for tree removal requests; perform block inspections for inventory purposes. The group also manages contracts for tree planting, pruning and removals. All requests for tree services are reviewed and managed through this group, including responding to emergency calls of fallen trees on roadways, homes or cars. They review construction plans and recommended preservation of existing trees and prepare street tree plans for construction sites. This office is responsible for maintaining the database for street tree planting and removal, and will work with the Conservation Planning and Analysis group to optimize the usefulness of those data for planning and decision making.

Natural Resources Management

The Natural Resources Management group is responsible for the on-the-ground work of the projects and studies in the natural areas of the park system including the park's naturally wooded areas, vegetative cover, streams, ponds, natural drainage ways and other natural resources. They are responsible for developing resources necessary for the conservation and restoration of the natural lands, including native plant propagation. They are the primary liaison in our partnership with Philadelphia Water Department. This group works with the Urban Forestry group to preserve existing wooded parks and natural areas, and plant trees in parks, natural areas and other public open spaces to improve the overall tree canopy.