Pelham Bay Park, Bronx

We work across New York City to:

Ensure Healthy Forests through tree plantings and long-term management.
Improve Coastal Resilience by rebuilding dunes and marshes, and creating tools to prioritize wetland restoration.
Adapt Natural Areas to Climate Change by conducting innovative research and developing cutting-edge resources for practitioners.
Training the Next Generation of Conservation Leaders through our annual CUNY internship program.
Get New Yorkers Outside through volunteer events, tours, lectures, and trail improvements.
Build a Coalition of parks professionals to promote healthy natural areas in cities across America.

Ensure Healthy Forests

New York City is home to over 20,000 acres of natural areas — with 7,300 acres of forest within NYC Parks jurisdiction. Each year, the city's trees capture 1.97 billion gallons of stormwater runoff and store 1.2 million tons of carbon per year. They remove 1,300 tons of pollutants from the atmosphere, with an annual savings in health costs of $93.2 million. New York City’s urban forests also provide meaningful connections to nature for millions of people.

The Natural Areas Conservancy supports the long-term health of New York City’s forests through our boots-on-the-ground management, restoration projects, planning, and volunteer engagement. In partnership with NYC Parks, we created the first-ever, long-term Forest Management Framework for New York City for all 7,300 acres of forests in city parks. This framework sets a bold vision for the future that enhances forest health and biodiversity while creating high-quality recreation opportunities for every New Yorker.

Learn more about our work in New York City’s urban forests >

Ensure Healthy Forests

In 2018, the NAC released the Forest Management Framework for New York City, a 25-year roadmap to invest in and care for the city’s 7,300 acres of native forests. This is the first-ever comprehensive plan, including staffing and budget recommendations, for the management of NYC Parks’ forests. This Framework was created in partnership with NYC Parks and is guiding the agency’s forest management efforts.

Improve Coastal Resilience

Our experts are leading the charge to prepare for future climate changes and to protect wildlife habitats through salt marsh restoration.

We safeguard the important functions of well-managed and vibrant wetlands: including buffering neighborhoods from storms like Sandy. We create tools to help plan future restoration projects.

Learn more about our latest wetlands initiative with NYC Parks >

Improve Coastal Resilience

The NAC has developed a database of 120 potential wetland restoration opportunities spanning over 275 acres in New York City. This vital information allows for strategic decision making about how to make the city’s coastline more resilient to rising sea levels and flooding.

Adapt Natural Areas to Climate Change

New York City’s natural areas are already playing a big role locally mitigating the harmful effects of climate change. But targeted research, innovative thinking, and adaptive planning are crucial to realizing the full potential of these natural resources.

Through our projects and partnerships, the Natural Areas Conservancy is gaining a better understanding of New York City’s natural resources and climate change. We’re developing resources and tools that will advance the city’s planning, restoration, and conservation efforts now and into the future.

Click to learn more about our climate change initiatives >

Adapt Natural Areas to Climate Change

We are creating innovative tools that help adapt the New York City’s forests to the threats of climate change. In 2019, the NAC released a web-based tool that allows practitioners to evaluate site conditions and select appropriate climate-adapted plants for restoration projects.

Training the Next Generation of Conservation Leaders

At the Natural Areas Conservancy we’re committed to training New York City’s next generation of environmental professionals.

Our dedication to recruiting students from The City University of New York (CUNY) — one of the most diverse universities in the country — allows us to engage local STEM students and provide them with skills they’ll need to enter the workforce as competitive candidates.

Learn more about our CUNY internship program >

Training the Next Generation of Conservation Leaders
While the 2020 CUNY internship program was mostly virtual — due to the coronavirus pandemic — our internship coordinator met with small groups of students for socially distanced learning in New York City’s natural areas.

Get New Yorkers Outside

We’re spreading the word about our city’s amazing biodiversity and the ways in which New Yorkers can hike and explore forests and wetlands across the five boroughs. Throughout the year, the Natural Areas Conservancy organizes lectures, tours, and volunteer projects to improve our city’s abundant nature and to help city residents experience New York City’s wild side. We’ve even created an interactive web map of New York City's natural areas.

Through long-term management and on-the-ground maintenance projects, we’re enhancing New York City’s vast network of trails. Our staff formalizes natural area trails to improve access, wayfinding, and navigation for New Yorkers.

We are also a founding member of the NYC Nature Goals 2050 Coalition.

Learn more about our work to enhance New York City’s trails >

Get New Yorkers Outside

Throughout the year, the NAC offers a broad range of events, including walking tours, forest bathing demonstrations, guided birding, and lectures and presentations where our ecologists share upcoming plans and site designs.

Build a National Coalition

The Natural Areas Conservancy’s Forest in Cities program was created in 2019 to promote and advance healthy forested natural areas in cities across America through science, management, partnerships, and communications.

The program’s latest accomplishment is the launch of the new Forests in Cities Resource Library. This publicly-accessible online library contains peer-reviewed research, forest management plans, land and project assessment protocols, and more. This is the first digital library that collects and curates resources specifically for forested natural areas in cities.

Click to learn more about our national work >

Build a National Coalition

The NAC has initiated an emerging national network of parks and forestry professionals to foster collaboration and partnership, and to promote the importance of urban nature. In October 2019, the NAC hosted “Forests in Cities: A National Workshop” — a four-day convening of those leaders to discuss shared challenges and explore opportunities for collaboration.