U.S. Department of Agriculture: Forest Service -- National Agroforestry Center



Date of this Version

June 2008


Published by USDA National Agroforestry Center (NAC), East Campus – UNL, Lincoln, NE 68583-0822. Website http://www.unl.edu/nac


Working Trees for Communities is the adaptation of agroforestry technologies to assist communities of all sizes achieve environmental, social, and economic goals, especially at the rural/urban interface.

Today, communities are challenged with accommodating new growth while maintaining the integrity of existing neighborhoods. Accommodating health, safety, transportation, quality of life, economics, environmental quality, and infrastructure development can often lead to land use conflicts. Compromises are often needed to achieve a workable plan.

Today, community residents, businesses, rural landowners, and local leaders must look beyond their own backyards. What is done by one resident or business can affect the community and the watershed. The cumulative effects of many individual actions can have significant impact on the overall landscape.

WORKING TREES FOR COMMUNITIES are proven agroforestry technologies that are being adapted to meet community needs. When properly placed, Working Trees provide benefits to the environment and to people living in and around the community. Trees clean the air and water, provide protection from the wind, improve the view from our homes, and provide a cool place on a hot day. Working Trees create green space that provides recreational and educational opportunities. They provide food, shelter, and travel corridors for wildlife. Trees along streams cool the water, provide food for stream organisms, add structure to the stream channel, and stabilize streambanks. A planned system unites the community and the surrounding landscape by way of Working Trees.