Austin's 2034 Urban Forest Vision
Austin's Urban Forest Plan
Austin's Urban Forest Plan established a broad, long-range Vision for Austin’s urban forest. Like most comprehensive plans it is inherently hopeful and focuses on the ideal state of the urban forest 20 years in the future. The Plan lays the groundwork and paints a picture of where we're headed. It provides a comprehensive list of goals, called Policy Elements, reflecting each area of focus that needs to be addressed to reach our Vision. These 59 urban forest goals were established to address topics ranging from data collection and management, funding resources, tree planting and care, reducing development impacts, and engaging with partners and the community.
Progress on implementing comprehensive plans is often difficult to measure. This section approaches the task as an opportunity to share priority activities, programs, and initiatives that are helping Austin move the needle towards our community's urban forest Vision for 2034. It's been an iterative journey to implement a Code-mandated and largely unfunded plan. Evaluating existing resources, recruiting partners, and analyzing priorities for those resources was the first step in the implementation process. The Planning section of the Community Tree Impact Report provides an overview of where implementation stands today.
As our community continues to work toward our 2034 Vision for Austin's urban forest, we can expect many challenges and opportunities. There is an opportunity for Austin to direct its future and take proactive steps to nurture and protect trees in our neighborhoods and public spaces.
Ongoing and Future Challenges
Challenges to urban forest health:
- Accelerating land development
- Community apathy
- Siloed interest groups and organizations
- Extreme conditions brought on by climate change such as extreme heat, drought, flooding, and wildfire
- Invasive plants, pests, and disease
- Lack of tree species diversity
- An increasing use of parks and associated soil compaction around trees
- Political pressure to reduce tree protections
Ongoing and Future Opportunities
Opportunities for urban forest health:
- Partnerships with mission-compatible organizations
- Development of purpose-driven data
- Increasing data transparency
- Supporting tree species and age diversity
- Supporting a culture of stewardship and community engagement
- Collectively focusing resources on high priority areas
- Supporting internal, City of Austin, stewardship activities on public land
Urban Forest Plan Policy Categories
The Policy elements and respective categories are the guiding frameworks of Austin’s Comprehensive Urban Forest Plan. Below you'll find an introduction to each category. To review the 59 policy elements visit the Urban Forest Plan (pg 71).
Protection and Preservation
Policies related to preservation of urban forest resources through regulation and other approaches that enhance preservation.
Sustainable Urban Forest
Sustainable Urban Forest policies are related to the sustainability of the urban forest resource itself and the resources related to its management.
Planting, Care, and Maintenance
Planting, care, and maintenance policies are related to the consideration of existing public urban forest resources and proactive planning for sustainable future urban forest resources while understanding the challenges between active site use and healthy forests.
Urban Forest Management Framework
Policies related to City organizational structure and staffing levels, staff qualifications, the involvement of City forestry staff in other City disciplines and functions, and funding for urban forest programs and efforts.
Planning and Design
Policies related to the consideration of existing public urban forest resources and planning for sustainable future urban forest resources on a site-level scale.
Education and Outreach
Policies related to public education, outreach, stewardship, and training of citizens, private entities, and nonprofit organizations for urban forest promotion to achieve the vision for the urban forest.