The protection, restoration, and enhancement of Urban Lands are important for the sequestration of carbon for North Carolina and contribute significantly to disaster mitigation. According to a study published by the USFS Northern Research Station, North Carolina is one of five states in the country with the greatest amount of carbon stored by trees in urban areas (37.5 million tons). Urban Lands include several types of ecosystems, such as forests, wetlands, and floodplains. The total area of urban lands in North Carolina is 3.6 million acres.
Green space in urban areas provides critical wildlife habitat, recreational opportunities, shade, thermal regulation, and air pollution reduction. Protection of watersheds draining to urban areas is important for reducing infrastructure flooding and protecting the quality of water supplies. Urban soils are typically in poor condition, and soil amendments, site preparation for planting trees, and other natural landscape development are essential.
The Urban Lands Committee of the Natural and Working Lands Stakeholder Group is composed of representatives from local, state, and federal government, conservation organizations, and universities. Some examples of projects that implement recommendations from the NC Natural and Working Lands Action Plan are:
- North Carolina Forest Service: Urban and Community Forestry Grant Program
The NC Forest Service provides cost-share grants to governments, public educational institutions, and organizations for projects located within the boundaries of a North Carolina incorporated municipality. The Program goal is to increase the sustainable management of urban forests and to enhance the public’s knowledge of the benefits of community forest conservation.
Contact for more information: NC Forest Service, 919-857-4801.