Cities are deeply intertwined. Forest and nature loss driven by human activity accelerates climate change, water insecurity and biodiversity loss. This exacerbates risks that are already threatening city residents around the world, including extreme weather, air pollution, urban heat, flooding, drought and more.

At the same time, people living in cities make many of the decisions that drive this loss. From the commodities they purchase, to their land-use decisions, cities determine what happens to the world’s forests — and, as a result, what happens to them.

Cities4Forests helps cities around the world use nature to address their challenges while also using their influence to protect and conserve nature. Our cohort of over 90 cities is dedicated to a future where cities and forests have a sustainable relationship that allows both to not only survive, but thrive.

Cities4Forests works with cities to protect, conserve and restore forests and nature across three scales:

  • Inner forests, such as public parks and street trees, that combat urban heat and flooding.
  • Nearby forests, such as forested watersheds, that safeguard a city’s water supply.
  • Faraway forests, especially tropical forests, that act as carbon sinks and sustain the biodiversity that the whole world needs.

Once we’re worked with a city to identify the appropriate scale, we help them develop context-specific solutions. In some instances, we work with cities to make political commitments and draft policies that protect and restore nature. In others, we provide technical assistance and capacity-building to turn policy into implementation. And in others, we provide economic assessments and help cities access capital to fund their projects.

Through this approach, we are able to help cities advance the most effective and urgent action to protect nature and, in turn, their residents.

Graphic showing benefits of inner, nearby, and faraway forests in relation to cities.

Cover image by Dania Shaeeb/Unsplash