Tree Advocacy Hub

Advocate for more tree funding and legislation.

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Mature trees provide the most benefits. Advocate for mature trees and plant replacements when needed.

All trees, on both public and private land, together form an urban forest that is a crucial part of a community’s infrastructure, just like streets, water mains, and power grids. Collectively, this green infrastructure provides valuable services and benefits:

  • Trees in the region remove 18,600 tons of pollutants from the air per year, valued at $192 million in public health savings, including the health care costs avoided due to lower rates of diseases and respiratory issues.
  • Leaves and branches intercept rainfall and roots absorb it from the soil, reducing runoff that can cause erosion and overwhelm storm sewers. The region’s trees intercept 1.5 billion cubic feet of water annually, saving cities and taxpayers $100 million per year.
  • As trees grow, they take in carbon dioxide and store it in their tissues, reducing greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere. The region’s trees currently store 21 million tons of carbon, and an additional 542,600 tons are sequestered each year, mitigating the effects of climate change and providing carbon capture services valued at more than $3.6 billion.
  • Trees adjacent to buildings provide shade and added insulation, regulating temperatures around buildings and saving Chicago region residents $32 million per year while reducing carbon emissions.
  • Trees make neighborhoods beautiful and more livable, while also improving property values.
  • Trees shelter wildlife, including birds that control insect populations.

CRTI is available to help communities and individuals with ordinances and educational resources.

These resources are for communities to encourage residents to plant trees and manage an urban forest.

Encouraging Stewardship

Communities can encourage tree stewardship by educating residents to take action for trees. Community members who understand the unique problems facing their trees are more likely to lend a hand. Here are ways that communities can get involved:

  • Build a community volunteer program. This Tree Tool provides a simple outline to assist you in establishing a volunteer program in your community.
  • Participate in CRTI’s Community Tree Network.
  • Hold workshops on issues facing the community forest and the benefits its trees provide. Share them on our Events page.
  • Offer hands-on learning opportunities about the care and management of trees. Use existing resources, like the CRTI Tree Care Door Hanger or the Plant Trees digital campaign tools to spread awareness.
  • Place short informative articles in local newsletters or social media.

Enacting Laws

Municipalities can practice tree advocacy by enacting legislation through tree preservation ordinances. These laws guide preservation, protection, maintenance, and replacement of a community’s trees. Other resources include:

Planning Ahead

A tree management plan, like a municipal stormwater, street, or sewer management plan, protects the important infrastructure.

The resource Tree Management Plans and Your Community provides guidance for city staff on how to develop and write forestry management plans.

You don’t have to be a professional to make a difference for trees.

Follow simple steps to make an impact on the trees around you.

Care for the Trees Around You

Mature trees perform the bulk of ecosystem services. Keeping your parkway, backyard, and neighborhood trees properly mulched and watered will help them become established and grow into healthy, mature trees.

Advocate for Trees

Report concerns about community trees to a local forester by searching your municipality’s website or calling their public works department. You can also talk to your neighbors, friends, and families about trees. Spreading your knowledge and passion can lead to more tree stewardship around you.

Get Help for the Trees Around You

Professional arborists can help you improve the health of your trees with regular pruning, advice on mulching, and assessments of health. Find a professional arborist through the International Society of Arboriculture’s search tool. You can also email, visit, or call The Morton Arboretum’s Plant Clinic with plant questions or send plant specimens to the University of Illinois Plant Clinic to have them diagnosed.