About Urban Forest Management

Urban forest management is a complicated topic. Matt Wells describes it nicely. Matt Wells with the city of Santa Monica, is one of the very few actual urban foresters in California and might be the only one managing policy for any city in California.  Santa Monica has one of the few thriving city urban forests.  No HOA has achieved this to my knowledge, but we are giving it a go, as they say in the UK. This is an excellent talk on this concept: Interview with Matt Wells

Under this topic we will cover specifics for practical Urban Forest Management. In our model, we will assume that the management will be based primarily on inexperienced volunteers with a high turnover rate and funding and approvals will be typical of HOAs and nonprofits.

In our approach, we will use spread sheets to generate inspection reports, inventory maintenance, and work requests. We will strive to create and update coordinated documentation of easy-to-follow procedures and standard practices. These will be used as detailed instructional guides and examples.

The Plan

To efficiently and successfully manage an urban forest, a long-term plan is needed. This plan must have enough detail that as volunteers change, the goals do not. The overall vision is divided up into more manageable area themes. Each area theme can be managed separately for simplicity and efficiency.

The Inventory

In order to manage assets, you must be able to evaluate the assets and test for changes that are of interest. For this, an inventory is created and maintained. It must be updated as inspections are performed and work is completed. health and maintenance issues are used to create work requests.

Inspections and Evaluations

These are used to evaluate the changes in the inventory and keep it up to date.


Where forest issues are too large for simple work orders, old areas and irrigation require upgrading or replacing, or a change in themes takes place, separating grouped issues into projects simplifies management, approvals, and budgeting.

Budget Management

Successful urban forest management requires careful use of available funding through efficient budget management. Long term projects, spending history, projected expenditures, cash reserves, and expected obsolescence, all play a roll in successfully achieving the Plan goals.