Connecting cities with forests around the world
Deforestation and degradation threaten the world’s forests and natural ecosystems, accelerating climate change, water insecurity, and biodiversity loss. Even when deforestation happens in the world’s most remote tropical forests, the impacts are felt around the world.
Cities are also subject to daunting challenges. Over half of the world’s population currently lives in urban areas, which is expected to grow to nearly 70% by 2050. As urbanization continues, cities will have to increasingly deal with the impacts of extreme weather, air pollution, urban heat, flooding, drought, and other issues that affect peoples’ ability to survive and thrive.
These challenges are deeply interconnected. Forest and nature loss leads to many of the challenges cities face, and cities make many of the decisions that drive this loss. From the commodities they purchase, to the land choices they make within their boundaries, to the investments made in global business districts, cities determine what happens to the world’s forests – and, as a result, what happens to them.
Cities4Forests, an initiative led by the World Resources Institute and the Pilot Projects Design Collective, was founded to help cities around the world both use nature to address their challenges and use their influence to protect and conserve the world’s forests and nature. Our cohort of cities is dedicated to a future where cities and forests have a sustainable relationship that allows both to not only survive, but thrive.
Cities4Forests supports cities around the world to recognize their interdependence with the world’s forests, and use their own political, economic, and cultural power to ensure forest health and vitality.
We help our cities better conserve, manage, and restore their inner forests (such as city trees, urban parks and natural areas), nearby forests (such as watersheds), and faraway forests (especially tropical forests). We raise awareness of the benefits of trees and forests (especially for the climate, water, biodiversity, and human health and well-being), and catalyze forest-positive city actions, policies, and investments by providing tailor-made technical assistance.
Cities4Forests is a voluntary 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.