About the Forest Management Framework

Forest Management Framework for New York City

A joint project of the Natural Areas Conservancy and NYC Parks, the Forest Management Framework for New York City is a strategic and comprehensive plan to bolster and protect New York City’s vital urban forests. It is the first citywide vision for this critical piece of infrastructure. The plan is intended to guide restoration, management, and community engagement for 7,300 acres of New York City’s forested parkland. The 25- year plan includes the process, costs, steps, recommendations, best practices, and goals for forest management in NYC. It marks the culmination of six years of research, data collection, and analysis by NAC scientists.

Read a one page summary of goals and the full report

Conservancy Engagement Program

An important part of the Forest Management Framework is the citywide Conservancy Engagement program. We are working with park conservancies that manage large forests in New York City and are providing scientific support, training, data tools, and other resources. The result is a park-specific, five-year management plan and budget for each conservancy.

In 2018, we advised the Prospect Park Alliance and Forest Park Trust. In 2020, we worked with the Riverside Park Conservancy for Riverside Park and the Wildlife Conservation Society, the New York Botanical Garden, and the Bronx River Alliance for Bronx Park. In 2021, we worked with the Van Cortlandt Park Alliance to develop planning for Van Cortlandt Park and developed a community training program.

The Forest Management Framework and the Conservancy Engagement program were funded by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, the Ittleson Foundation, the New York Community Trust and the Robert Wilson Charitable Trust. The Conservancy Engagement program was additionally funded by National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and a grant to the Natural Areas Conservancy from the New York State Environmental Protection Fund through the Hudson River Estuary Program of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.

Engaging Local Communities in Forest Planning and Care

In partnership with NYC Parks, the Natural Areas Conservancy has developed two projects to engage local communities near natural area park forests in Washington Heights, Manhattan and the Edenwald and Eastchester neighborhoods in the Bronx. We are partnering with community groups and neighbors surrounding Highbridge Park and Seton Falls Park to share findings on forest health, collaborate in forest management planning, and implement the Forest Management Framework for New York City.

In the summer and fall of 2022, the NAC is leading hands-on workshops about conservation, forest ecology and care, plant identification, and nature trail management. Community groups and members are invited to participate in these workshops, share their knowledge of their local parks, and work with our staff and NYC Parks to plant and manage forests in Seton Falls or Highbridge Parks. These projects will encourage the NAC, NYC Parks, and local New York City residents to work together to prioritize forest management and improve the quality and health of forests in these neighborhoods.

Learn more about this initiative >

The program in Seton Falls Park is supported by a Long Island Sound Futures Fund grant administered by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. Funding for our program in Highbridge Park is provided by the New York State Environmental Protection Fund, NYSDEC Hudson River Estuary Program.

Climate-Adaptive Planting Palette for New York City Forests

In conjunction with the Forest Management Framework, the Natural Areas Conservancy has developed recommendations for climate-resilient tree species to plant in New York City forests. We have identified native species that are most resilient under warmer, drier conditions. NYC Parks has adopted our recommendations for their planting projects, and we’re making them available to other conservancies.

This project was funded by a Wildlife Conservation Society Climate Adaptation Fund grant. Support for this Fund is provided by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation.

New York City Council Hearing: Ensuring the Short and Long Term Preservation of the City's Natural Forest

On October 25, 2018 the Natural Areas Conservancy's Sarah Charlop-Powers presented testimony to the New York City Council Committee on Parks & Recreation. We were joined by over 15 agencies, organizations, and individuals in calling on the New York City Council to support the Forest Management Framework for New York City.

Watch the full hearing.