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The Urban and Community Forestry in Akwesasne Banner
What is Urban Forestry and why should you care about it? 

Urban forestry is the care and management of trees in urban areas to help improve the environment we all live and work in. Why do we need trees in urban areas, shouldn’t they just be in the woods and not in your yard? The answer is NO! Trees in urban areas are probably one of the most important aspects in a community’s health and value and urban forestry is what makes it all possible.

There are almost too many benefits of having urban trees to count. Urban trees absorb 17 times more water run off than a grass lawn. They reduce air and water pollutants through both their roots and leaves. They improve air quality and human health by releasing Phytoncides which are chemicals with antibacterial and antifungal qualities. They reduce energy costs in the winter, create cooler air temperatures in the summer, reduce noise, ultraviolet radiation, greenhouse gases, soil erosion and provide you with privacy from your neighbors. These are just a few of the many benefits.

Urban trees also have a deeper, sometimes spiritual meaning. A tree you planted when you were young, cared for, and watched grow or a tree planted for the remembrance of a lost loved one. People develop emotional attachments to trees that give them special status and value which cannot be replaced.

Just remember that an urban forest is not a natural environment and needs our help to be sustained. From beginning to end, proper planting techniques are just as important as proper maintenance and damage prevention in keeping trees happy and healthy. If you take care of them they will take care of you.

What we are doing  

Trees in urban areas are probably one of the most important aspects in a community’s health and value. Because of this the forestry program has conducted an urban tree inventory to determine the needs for Akwesasne’s urban areas.

The Results 

From the inventory, it has been determined that Akwesasne needs more trees! But not just any trees, we need specific species of trees and they need to be planted in proper locations.

The Threat of Emerald Ash Borer (EAB)  

Green Ash was found to be the 2nd most common tree species in the urban area. Sadly this means that 12% of our urban trees will be removed by the emerald ash borer and will need to be replaced.

Our Plan for the Future 

We will be creating an Urban Forest Management Plan (UFMP) and we will also be forming an Urban and Community Forestry planning committee (UCF) to better improve the future of Akwesasne’s urban environment.


looking up at a tree canpoy
What the Plan will do 

The 2017 Urban Forest Management Plan (UFMP) will describe the values and issues of the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribes urban and community forest. It will define the current state of the urban forest, the vision for the future, and how that vision will be achieved in order to improve Akwesasne’s urban and community forest. The UFMP will consist of the information gathered from the urban tree inventory conducted in 2013 – 2015. It will address the priorities, the needs, and the strategies that will need to be taken to achieve the goals and objectives of the UFMP.

What we hope to achieve 

The Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe’s vision for its urban forest is to strengthen its local biosphere, promote biodiversity, and improve the community’s health and value through the proper care, protection, and enhancement of its urban trees. By effectively managing the urban forest, the community will have a safe, healthy, and pleasing environment in which to work, live, and enjoy.

Help us out 

If you are interested in learning more, improving your communi ty, or have any good ideas come join the UCF (Urban and Community Forest) planning committee. The Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe, Forestry Resources Program will be forming a committee to work on the development of a plan to improve the urban forest in Akwesasne. The committee will be forming this year so keep an eye out.

Please feel free to contact Aaron Barrigar at 358-5937, extension 137. Also don’t forget to look for us on earth day to get your free tree! and to learn more about urban and community forests.

Please feel free to fill out the questions below. This will help us out a lot!

Want to Join the Urban an Community Planning Committee?
For more information on the benefits of urban trees
This resource list compiled by Alliance for Community Trees (ACTrees) gathers the many scientifically proven benefits of urban forests into a single document for tree advocates to use.
 Benefits of Trees - PDF file
Tree Owner's Manual for the Northeastern and Midwestern United States
Publication: United States Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northeastern Area, State and Private Forestry, NA-FR-04-07
 Link to Manual
To see the value of your trees
Go to the National Tree Benefit Calculator at: 

For more information in your area contact the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribal Environment office:
Phone: (518)358-5937 or Fax: (518)358-6252  


Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe Environment Division