Urban Forestry, image of a street lined with trees
Community Tree Inventories

The Iowa DNR, in cooperation with Iowa forestry professionals and USDA Forest Service, conducts inventories and completes management plans for Iowa communities of 5,000 residents or less on an ongoing basis.  

The purpose of an inventory is to gather accurate information about the composition and condition of a community’s city-owned tree resources, so that the community is able to manage its trees most effectively.

Inventory and management plan benefits include:

  • Monetary valuation of the numerous benefits that trees provide to a community
  • Creation of a long-term management plan and justification for allocation of necessary funding
  • Identification and assessment of hazard trees, which pose a potential threat to life and property
  • Determination of short and long-term management and canopy goals
  • Prioritization of community’s forestry resources, including staff time and equipment, and increased efficiency of such resources
  • Maintenance and growth of a safe, healthy, and productive urban forest

Most importantly, the information gathered through an inventory and compiled into a management plan gives a community the tools it needs to move from a reactive position of responding to storm damage, invasive pests such as emerald ash borer (EAB), and other catastrophes after they occur, to a proactive position where it can potentially minimize the harm these events are capable of doing before they happen.

DNR Publications 

Urban and Community Forestry

Community Benefits from Public Trees in Iowa

Healthy Trees, Healthy Iowans

Community Tree Canopy Cover in Iowa

Tree City USA and Tree Campus USA

The National Arbor Day Foundation's Tree City USA program is coordinated by Iowa DNR with the goal of enhancing the forest resources of Iowa communities. The program recognizes cities and towns that have provided an outstanding example for other communities through the improvement of their forest resources. In order for a community to qualify, it must:

  • possess either a city forester or an active tree board
  • have a tree ordinance
  • spend at least $2 per capita annually for its community forestry program
  • observe Arbor Day through a community proclamation and celebration

To fill out an application, or for more information, please visit Tree City USA

Return completed applications to:
Emma Hanigan
Wallace State Office Building
502 E. 9th Street
Des Moines, IA 50319-0034

Completed paper applications also require the following worksheet:
Attachment C

The National Arbor Day Foundation's Tree Campus USA  program promotes the establishment and maintenance of healthy college and university campus forests for the benefit of current and future students and residents. The program recognizes schools that effectively manage their campus trees, develop connectivity with their communities, and engage their students in service learning opportunities. 

Requirements are as follows:

  • Campus Tree Advisory Committee
  • Campus Tree Care Plan
  • Campus Tree Program with Dedicated Annual Expenditures
  • Arbor Day Observance
  • Service Learning Project

To fill out an application, or for more information, please visit Tree Campus USA.

Return completed applications to:
Emma Hanigan
Wallace State Office Building
502 E. 9th Street
Des Moines, IA 50319-0034

Urban Forestry Management Plans

To determine if your community has had an inventory conducted recently, please use the DNR’s interactive GIS website, or search through the collection of urban forestry management plans:

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