Urban Forestry


The Urban Forestry Department at UCF was formed in 2004 with the mission of improving the campus aesthetics, mitigating hurricane storm damage, increasing tree diversity, improving ecosystem services and engaging with students through the Arboretum Program. Since 2004 the urban forestry team has grown to six individuals, five of which are certified arborists through the International Society of Arboriculture. This experienced team of tree professionals is responsible for the management and care of the 8000+ trees we have on campus. The team regularly prunes, removes, plants, fertilizes and even installs bracing systems within the trees for student safety and overall tree health. Due to the team’s dedication to urban canopy management, they were awarded “Tree Campus USA” designation for the last 8 years and also were recognized as the “Outstanding Urban Forestry Program” in the state of Florida in 2017, granted by the Florida Urban Forestry Council.

The urban forestry goals for the university include a continuous net positive growth in the amount of shade provided on campus. This can be a difficult balancing act with the amount of construction projects and storms that will inherently disrupt trees. Because of these inhibiting factors, the team has developed a tree care management plan that responds to these issues, such as developing standards of tree protection in construction zones, and excluding storm prone trees from landscape plans. They discuss and analyze long term campus planning, including future building foot prints to project safe locations for trees to grow for a very long time. They also select storm resilient species, while not sacrificing diversity or beauty, to sustain the campus through hurricane season and reduce tree breakage and facility damage. The Urban Forestry team wants the campus to be beautiful not just for the next four years, but the next 40 to 100.

Not only does the arbor team have arboricultural planning foresight, they also respond to FEMA hurricane response cleanup in an impressive manner. In the wake of Hurricane Irma in 2017, the Urban Forestry team gained recognition and praise with their rapid response with clearing roads and entrance-ways to allow for cleanup crews to enter campus. In total, 124 trees were toppled and destroyed in the storm.  The Urban Forestry team removed and cleared the trees within a week of the hurricane. In an attempt to reconcile their lost trees, in 2018 the team received a grant from the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Sciences to replace some of the trees lost to storms. The team will use the funds to plant a colonnade of storm resilient trees in one of our most beautiful green spaces, the Arboretum Park.

Comments are closed.