The Invest From the Ground Up Campaign has teamed up with cities throughout Southern California to improve the long term health of our Urban Forests. The City Forest Renewal Project (CFR), funded through CAL FIRE’s Urban Forest and Community Grant program will be removing trees that are diseased, posing a risk, and/or dead. Any tree removed will be replaced with two more trees planted by the city. We will also be working with our partner cities to improve the management of their urban forest through updating their policies and procedures. This will lead to urban forest benefits beyond the lifetime of this grant!

About City Forest Renewal

What does this program consist of?

CFR has four main goals which feed into the central theme of improving the long term health of our urban forests.

  1. Remove diseased, dead, or high-risk trees from each partner City.
  2. Expand urban forests throughout California than planting more trees. 
  3. Institutionalize policy changes for a healthier, lower-risk urban forest.
  4. Educate community members on why trees are removed, as well as pest and drought challenges.

Why is this program important?

86% of Americans now live in urban centers. Residents and communities are gravitating towards city centers. With that movement, it is important to maintain a healthy, low-risk, robust urban forest for our communities. 

Planting trees helps clean air, clean water, reduce noise pollution, encourage outdoor activity, and many other benefits.

By removing trees through grant funding, Cities are able to use funding previously allocated for removals to re-plant new trees or improve their management policies.

When Cities commit to planting trees, they are committing to provide their current and future residents with a healthier environment to live, work, and play! 

What cities are partnered on this program?

This program targets Cities with trees that have been impacted by the Invasive Shot Hole Borer, drought, other pests, and disease. The program’s current partners are the Cities of Corona, Covina, Pomona, Santa AnaLa Canada Flintridge and Upland.

Most of the IFTGU campaigns are state-wide. For this project, we focused on areas impacted by pests such as Xylella &  the Invasive Shot Hole Borer. Learn more here.

How is it determined which trees are removed?

Trees removed for this project MUST be either diseased and declining, dead, or posing a risk to the community.

This program does not remove healthy, low-risk trees from the urban forest.

Each tree is chosen by the City for evaluation of eligibility to remove trees through this program. A certified Arborist then goes to evaluate the trees to determine if they are eligible. 

What kind of policy changes will help urban forests be healthier?

Current tree related policies or municipal codes are being reviewed by the CFR team. We are evaluating in comparison to  industry standards based on the  California Joint Powers Authority Tree Inspection and Maintenance policies. After establishing a baseline of where the City’s current policies stand, we will provide recommendations to lower the risk of the urban forest. 

Policies we are reviewing include Urban Forest Management Plans, Tree Ordinances. Tree Maintenance Manuals and city websites. We want to maximize each cities resources and will leverage the grant savings as a way to get started!

We have created a Urban Forest Management Plan template for our partner cities to adopt. We are working with each city to modify the Management Plan in order to meet the goals of the city and address their urban forest needs. The Mangement Plan Template is located below, under Resources. 



What tree related policies can you recommend to your local municipality?




Tree Inspections / Tree Inventory

  1. Inspection Objectives
  2. Identifying and Documenting Inspections

Routine Tree Maintenance

  1. Restricted Acts to be Avoided without Arborist Approval
  2. Standards for Pruning Public Trees
  3. Pruning Methods for Trees
  4. Tree Care for Birds and Other Wildlife
  5. Plant Health Care Plan and Integrated Pest Management
  6. Fertilizing
  7. Watering Schedule
  8. Fruit Control

Protection of Trees During Construction

  1. Tree Protection Objectives
  2. Site Plan
  3. Activities During Construction and Demolition Near Trees
  4. Tree Maintenance During Construction

Tree Removal

  1. Tree Removal Objectives
  2. Removal Criteria
  3. Tree Evaluation for Removal

Replacement and Planting of Trees

  1. Tree Planting Specifications
  2. Planting Stock and Materials
  3. Planting Site Preparation
  4. Planting in Difficult Soil Conditions

Approved Tree Palette

Heritage Trees

  1. Designation of Heritage Trees
  2. Once Heritage Tree is Designated

Education and Community Outreach

  1. Community Forestry Objectives
  2. Public Relations
  3. Distribution of Education Material
  4. Tree City USA
  5. Developing a Tree Advisory Commission (Tree Board)

Urban Wood Recycling Program

  1. Urban Wood Recycling Objectives
  2. Tree Recycling Plan
  3. Species Replacement Plan
  4. Urban Wood Public Construction Projects

References & Appendices



How is CFR making the project visible to the community?

This program has partnered with each City to ensure the project is given awareness to the public through current City media channels such as social media, NextDoor, City Manager Newsletters, etc.

During the City’s Arbor Day Celebration, we will be hosting a CFR booth to discuss the program and the steps towards a healthier urban forest. Education materials will include tree benefits, ISHB material, and other items for the CFR project. 

Prior to removing trees from each City, and after evaluation of trees, Tree Wraps will be posted around the trees to be removed. This Tree Wrap is intended for pedestrian traffic who may not be connected to other media channels. 

Where do the removed trees go?

West Coast Arborists, Inc. has an urban wood-recycling program – Street Tree Revival (STR). STR takes all eligible wood (no rot, no decay) and process the wood, into various lumber products including live edge slabs, cookies, and dimensional lumber. These can be used to create any finished wood products that can be made from traditional lumber such as tables, benches, and flooring. Through CFR, we will be preserving eligible wood, and giving finished wood products back to the City to use in public spaces. 

Wood that does not meet the base requirements for lumber is converted into firewood or mulch. 

This is the first time we are implementing the City Forest Renewal grant project, ideas are always developing – do you have any suggestions for how the material should be used? Let us know in our “Different Questions” form! 

How do trees removed get processed into urban wood?

Once trees are removed from the urban environment through City Forest Renewal, logs are brought to Street Tree Revival’s log yard in Ontario. At those yards, logs are assessed for quality and signs of rot or decay. Once approved, the Street Tree Revival program (STR) prepares them for processing into urban wood. STR mills logs to their best end-use form, and prepare them for the drying process. Logs ineligible for the STR program will be recycled into firewood or mulch. 

Street Tree Revival will either air dry the material in a shaded structure at the Ontario log yard or ship the material to their Anaheim showroom to be kiln dried in their vaccum kiln. At the Anaheim showroom, there are dried urban wood slabs, cookies, and dimensional lumber available for purchase to the public.

By partnering with the Street Tree Revival program, the public has the opportunity to choose to purchase urban wood.

Current disposal of trees vs urban wood processing

In urban settings, trees are removed regularly for municipal urban forest management reasons which include death, decline, pests, risk, and infrastructure interference. Trees are typically disposed of in settings that will remit carbon into the atmosphere either by chipping, becoming firewood, or ending up in landfill.

The urban forestry community has identified this as a waste of materials and a detriment to our climate. Urban wood, re-purposed into lumber, offers a creative solution.

As opposed to choosing Forest Stewardship Council certified urban wood, which is harvested for timber value, choosing urban wood in place of  conventional lumber ensures usage of wood already being removed, diverts material from landfill, stores greenhouse gases for a longer period of time, and preserves the story of every piece!

Become part of the urban wood national movement!

In 2017, the non-profit Urban Salvaged Reclaimed Woods (USRW), formed a network to collaborate with the following goal and mission statement: to establish a coalition of like-minded companies, individuals, or government agencies who have networked together for the purpose of tree rescue and finding the highest value of the tree after its’ natural life has come to an end. 

Learn more about various membership types in the USRW Membership Network for urban lumber professionals

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Benefits of Urban Forests

A healthy urban forests is good for local air quality. 

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Where we are working

City Forest Renewal is working in: