Tree Cities of the World

Author: Jade Schofield, OUFC

Fifty-nine cities worldwide have been recognized as the first official ‘Tree Cities of the World’. This program is led by the Arbour Day Foundation, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations alongside its Canadian partner, Tree Canada.

The Tree Cities of the World program was developed as a result of the 2018 World Forum on Urban Forests. Its purpose is to connect cities around the world in a new network dedicated to sharing and adopting the most successful approaches to managing community trees and forests.

As listed in the Tree Cities of the World Standards, cities had to address how they are meeting the following criteria in their day-to-day forest management to be recognized:

  1. Establish Responsibility: The city has a written statement by city leaders delegating responsibility for the care of trees within the municipal boundary.
  2. Set the Rules: The city has in place a law or an official policy that governs the management of forests and trees. 
  3. Know What You Have: The city has an updated inventory or assessment of the local tree resource so that an effective long-term plan for planting, care, and removal of city trees can be established.
  4. Allocated Resources: The city has a dedicated annual budget for the routine implementation of the tree management plan.
  5. Celebrate Achievements: The city holds an annual celebration of trees to raise awareness among residents and to acknowledge citizens and staff members who carry out the city tree programme.

Canadian communities showed their true commitment as leaders in the urban forest sector, with nine cities nationwide receiving the very first recognition in January 2020. This includes four cities from Ontario!

On behalf of the Ontario Urban Forest Council and its members, we want to congratulate the communities of Guelph, Toronto, Thunder Bay and Whitby alongside all the cities for demonstrating your leadership in urban forest management.

Should you or your community be interested in participating in the program, please visit