World Resource Institute

About Cities4Forests

A City-led Movement to Protect Forests

Cities4Forests is a coalition of more than 60 cities from around the world involving mayors’ offices and other city agencies, such as public water utilities and offices of sustainability. Cities4Forests encourages peer-to-peer learning and connects cities with technical support from institutions with expertise in cities, forests, climate crisis, water, communications, finance, policy and social equity. This helps cities recognize their interdependence with the world’s forests and use their political, economic and cultural power to protect and manage those forests for human well-being.

We help cities better conserve, manage and restore their inner forests, including city trees, urban parks, natural areas and other green infrastructure; nearby forests, such as watersheds; and faraway forests, especially tropical forests. We assist cities by inspiring political action and engagement, providing technical assistance, building capacity, and facilitating economic analysis, finance, and investment.

  1. Accra, Ghana
  2. Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
  3. Aguascalientes, Mexico
  4. Amman, Jordan
  5. Antalya, Turkey
  6. Antananarivo, Madagascar
  7. Auckland, New Zealand
  8. Baltimore, USA
  9. Belo Horizonte, Brazil 
  10. Bogotá, Colombia
  11. Brussels, Belgium
  12. Campinas, Brazil
  13. Culiacán, Mexico
  14. Detroit, USA
  15. Dublin, Ireland
  16. Eugene (OR), USA
  17. Extrema, Brazil
  18. Freetown, Sierra Leone
  19. Greater Manchester, UK
  20. Haifa, Israel
  21. Honolulu, USA
  22. Hyderabad, India
  23. Jakarta, Indonesia
  24. Jayapura, Indonesia
  25. Johannesburg, South Africa
  26. Kigali, Rwanda
  27. King County, USA
  28. Kochi, India
  29. León, Mexico
  30. Lin'an, China
  31. Little Rock, USA
  32. Los Angeles, USA
  33. Macapá, Brazil
  34. Medellín, Colombia
  1. Mérida, Mexico
  2. Metropolitan Area of Guadalajara, Mexico
  3. Mexico City, Mexico 
  4. Montreal, Canada
  5. Nairobi, Kenya
  6. New York City, USA
  7. North Little Rock, USA
  8. Oakland, USA
  9. Oslo, Norway 
  10. Palmas, Brazil
  11. Philadelphia, USA
  12. Portland (OR), USA
  13. Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea
  14. Porto Velho, Brazil
  15. Quito, Ecuador
  16. Raleigh, USA
  17. Rio Branco, Brazil
  18. Sacramento, USA
  19. Salem (OR), USA
  20. Salt Lake City, USA
  21. Salvador, Brazil
  22. San Francisco, USA
  23. Santiago de Cali, Colombia
  24. São Luís, Brazil
  25. São Paulo, Brazil
  26. Seattle, USA
  27. Skopje, North Macedonia
  28. Tirana, Albania
  29. Toronto, Canada
  30. Vancouver, Canada
  31. Vienna, Austria
  32. Washington, D.C., USA
  33. Xalapa, Mexico

Download the list of Cities4Forests Member Cities

Cities4Forests is also endorsed by the Brazilian National Front of Mayors and Mexican states of Guanajuato and Jalisco.

Building an Alliance Between Cities and Forests

Trees and forests are essential to cities and their residents, providing many benefits for climate, water, biodiversity and resident health and well-being.

Yet forests remain under threat, as the world lost roughly one soccer field of forest every six seconds in 2019. Deforestation and forest degradation account for approximately 11 % of carbon emissions — more than the entire global transportation sector. As a result, halting deforestation and helping forests recover naturally could provide up to 30% of the climate solution. If tropical deforestation was a country, it would rank third in carbon dioxide-equivalent emissions, only behind China and the United States. Deforestation and poor forest management can devastate local communities by increasing erosion, landslides, wildfires, flooding and loss of livelihoods.

At the same time, cities face unprecedented pressure to protect the health of their residents, provide access to outdoor green spaces and address social disparities. Cities are also facing rising costs from climate change, water scarcity, pollution, a global economic downturn and the prospect of tight municipal budgets. As cities seek to “build back better” from recent health and economic crises, they need to think beyond traditional concrete-and-steel infrastructure and embrace natural systems that can provide a range of co-benefits at a relatively low cost. So how can cities better support forests, both within and beyond their borders? Innovative plans, resident-engagement strategies and enhanced policies and procurement practices have enormous potential to support forest conservation and restoration. This potential exists in protecting and maintaining local forests, including parks and urban forests within their boundaries, as well as promoting “green infrastructure”; nearby forests that protect water supplies and would benefit from watershed management programs; and faraway forests that are vital for combating the climate crisis, decreasing the loss of biodiversity and supporting large-scale weather patterns. Regardless of where forests are, cities have a responsibility — and a lot to gain — to protect and restore them.

Inspire Political Action & Engagement:

We empower cities, their mayors and their residents to become advocates for trees, forests and green infrastructure in their cities and beyond. We increase awareness and understanding among city decision-makers and urban residents about the potential benefits of forests for their well-being. We use our platform to help align, aggregate and amplify the voices of cities in their advocacy for forests locally and globally.

Provide Technical Assistance & Capacity Building:

We offer technical support to improve city government plans, policies and forest management. We also assist cities with urban tree mapping, forest planning and monitoring. We collect and share best practices, establish peer exchanges and promote a network that allows a more efficient exchange of information. We support research and development efforts for promising technologies, including those for monitoring.

Facilitate Economic Analysis, Finance & Investment:

We seek to attract and scale financial investment in forests by increasing literacy of conservation finance approaches, enhancing bankability of projects and replicating and scaling novel financing approaches. We improve connections between cities, project developers and investors by building pipelines for investable opportunities. Through this, we move forests and other green infrastructure from a niche specialty to a major opportunity for investors.

Join Us

Cities4Forests is supported by a broad network of partners that supply expertise in forest science and management, urban policy and design, sustainable supply chains, communications and outreach, economics, finance and more. Join us in this growing body of work.

Read the Declaration

Read the Press Release