Community Forestry Strategic Plan

Upward view of ancient oak tree

​The Community Forestry Strategic Plan was adopted by City Council in August 2013. The Plan acknowledges the benefits of trees, establishes six goals, and sets specific actions, priorities, and partnerships needed to achieve those goals.

Salem’s tree canopy provides $80 million dollars of annual environmental benefits through factors including air quality enhancement, stormwater filtration, and carbon sequestration.


The overarching goals of the Community Forestry Strategic Plan are to preserve and increase the tree canopy within Salem and to educate the public, decision-makers, and City staff about the benefits of trees.

The specific goals include:

  1. Protect, increase, and enhance Salem’s tree canopy
  2. Increase education and outreach about tree benefits, community forestry program, tree regulations, and incentives
  3. Develop support at political, management and public levels
  4. Improve City coordination, communication, and codes related to trees (Salem Revised Code Chapter 86 and Adminstrative Rule 109-500)
  5. Develop and implement a Community Forestry Management Plan
  6. Establish a stable funding for Community Forestry Program

Here are some of the highlights since the Plan's inception:

  • Achieved a 24 percent canopy coverage, exceeding our goal of 23 percent, which is a six percent increase from the 2009 tree canopy assessment of 18 percent. A new goal of 28 percent has been set for 2030. Canopy was gained in all neighborhood association boundaries throughout the City.

  • Began contracting with Friends of Trees in 2013 to plant trees and shrubs in parks, schools, and along streams. As of October 2019, more than 19,000 trees and shrubs have been planted.

  • Included Salem's canopy goal in the Comprehensive Plan update (Our Salem).

  • Achieved  Sterling City designation by Tree City USA forachievingGrowth Awards for 10 years. 

  • Developed a Tree Canopy Preservation Fund where donations and fines help to plant new trees.

  • Devoted $100,000 a year towards new street tree planting program.

Come plant with us

The City of Salem continues to contract with Friends of Trees annual to help grow our tree canopy and our community. The planting season runs from November to April each year. Join us at one of our events.

Tree City USA program

Salem is a charter member of the Tree City USA program started in 1976, making Salem the oldest Tree City USA in Oregon. As of 2019, the City has earned 13 Tree City USA Growth Awards. These honors are awarded to cities that go above and beyond the minimum Tree City USA requirements. The City has a full-time Urban Forester and an Urban Forestry section in the Public Works Department.

Salem tree reports 

Salem Street Trees Sample Inventory 20193799 KBsalem-street-trees-sample-inventory-2019.pdf
Salem Tree Report 2019 Summary of Tree Projects2687 KBsalem-tree-report-2019-summary-of-tree-projects.pdf
Salem Tree Canopy Report 20199351 KBtree-canopy-assessment-report-2019.pdf
Potential Urban Tree Canopy Report 20113416 KBpotential-urban-tree-canopy-phase-2-report.pdf
Salem Tree Canopy Report 20106007 KBsalem-tree-canopy-report-2010.pdf

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Contact us

Parks Operations
1410 20th ST SE Bldg 14
Salem OR 97302