m>rking  Trees
for  Communities
    Trees strategically planted in a specific place to address a particular need  that's
    what "working trees" are all about! Working Trees have a job to do. For decades
    conservation trees have been planted in rural, agricultural areas to protect
 resources and enhance human environments. In the past, trees were planted in com-
 munities primarily to add beauty and provide shade. Community residents, however,
 have the same responsibility and opportunities as those who live in rural areas, when
 it comes to protecting our natural resources. Since urban areas are a major contributor
 to nonpoint source pollution, the time has come to apply proven rural conservation
 forestry practices in and around communities to improve and protect our urban

 Working trees, in the form of windbreaks, living snowfences, and streamside buffers
 work to protect homes, industry, schools, emergency facilities, roadways, and people.
 They reduce wind erosion, improve water quality, screen unsightly areas, provide
 wildlife habitat, clean the air, reduce energy costs, and help beautify your town while
 they work.

 Working trees function not only in a community, but they also fill a very important
 role when located in between a community and adjacent agricultural lands	com-
 monly referred to as the rural/urban interface. The rural/urban interface plays an
 increasingly important role as rural farmlands and ranches are encroached upon by
 expanding urban populations for housing, business, and industrial construction. Here,
 working trees serve as a "living buffer," the front-line defense for both rural and
 urban residents against contaminated water and air, blowing snow and dust, noise,
 and wind. Strategically located outside your community, working trees reduce flood
 damage, decrease nonpoint source pollution, and help reduce problems associated
 with municipal landfills.

 The goal of working trees is to protect natural resources and at the same time make
 our communities productive, profitable, and sustainable for future generations.

   Rural/Urban Interface
Trees and shrubs serve as a "living
buffer" separating rural, agricultur-
al lands from residential  areas.
These  buffers are the front-line
defense against contaminated
water and air, dust, noise, wind,
and blowing snow originating from
both rural and urban areas.
 Rows of trees improve community
 environments for both work and
 play. Windspeed can be reduced by
 more  than 50 percent, making
 being outdoors more comfortable.
 Windbreaks can buffer both cold
 winter winds and hot  summer
 winds. They can modify environ-
 ments around hospitals, schools,
 homes, recreation areas, parking
 lots, and industrial parks, creating
 more pleasant living and working
  Screening, Dust and Noise
   Control, Wildlife Habitat,
   and Energy Conservation
 Rows of trees located between res-
 idential areas and unsightly or loud
 areas can screen and buffer resi-
 dents from unwelcome sights,
 sounds, or dust associated with
 roads, industry, organized sports,
 businesses, or landfills. Reduction
 of sound levels in the range of 8-
  12 decibels (approximately half as
 loud) are possible for tree, shrub,
 and solid barrier combinations.
 These plantings also  provide nec-
 essary food, shelter, breeding, and
 nesting sites for wildlife and can
 be  incorporated most anywhere,
  including backyards and recreation
  areas. Futhermore, properly placed
  shade trees and windbreaks can
  reduce energy consumption by up
  to 20 percent in the  summer and
  up to 30 percent in the winter.

forking  Tree  Practices...
.For Conservation
              The major goal of working trees is to help conserve and protect our natural resources.
              Trees and shrubs along rivers, streams, and ditches have the ability to trap sediments and
              filter chemicals originating from lawns, roads, or parking lots, before they reach the nat-
              ural water course. This helps keep our water clean and more suitable for domestic and
              recreational use. It also improves the quality of aquatic and wildlife habitat.
              Trees work for us on both natural and artificial slopes and steep banks. While sod and
              other ground cover hold topsoil in place, tree roots penetrate deeper and spread out,
              anchoring large blocks of soil. Densely-planted trees and shrubs can do additional duty
              by keeping bikes, foot traffic, and motor vehicles off slopes and fragile soils that are
              prone to wind and water erosion.
.To Diversify the Environment
              Populations of urban wildlife species increase with the addition of trees and shrubs. A
              single Baltimore oriole can devour 17 leaf-munching caterpillars in a minute and flick-
              ers can consume ants by the thousands. Birds earn their keep, and working trees hi a
              community will help ensure that we continue to provide essential water, food, and shel-
              ter for desirable wildlife. Previous heavy reliance on a few tree species has resulted in
              major losses due to insect and disease outbreaks. For example, the American elm is
              becoming "extinct" in many communities due to Dutch elm disease. Working tree prac-
              tices designed with a variety of plant species can guard against major losses and help
              communities diversify their urban forest.

.To Conserve Energy
              Properly placed working trees around homes, businesses, and other public facilities can
              reduce energy use significantly. For example, homes protected by windbreaks and shade
              trees can expect energy savings of up to 30 percent in the winter and 20 percent in the
              summer, especially in the high wind, low temperature regions of the United States. A
              living snowfence planted along a major roadway or near a parking lot can limit snow
              drift, reduce snow removal costs, and save energy costs to businesses. This can be espe-
              cially important when the major roadway protected is an emergency vehicle route such
              as that needed for hospitals, schools, or fire stations.

                                  1 '
     Living Snowfences
Rows of trees and/or shrubs near
access roads and emergency routes
reduce dangerous crosswinds, trap
blowing  snow,  lower  snow
removal costs, and increase driving
safety. Living snowfences can also
be designed to enhance recreation-
al activities. For example,  hiking
and biking trails can be incorporat-
ed in between rows of trees, and
berry-producing shrubs added to
the design will improve songbird
and wildlife habitat.
    Riparian Buffer Strips
 Natural or re-established stream-
 side forests comprised of trees,
 shrubs, and grasses filter surface
 and shallow subsurface  water pol-
 lutants before they enter streams
 and rivers. These filter  strips also
 help control bank erosion, protect
 and enhance aquatic environments,
 provide wildlife habitat and recre-
 ational sites, and increase biodiver-
 When a streambank is caving in,
 soil bioengineering techniques may
 be used to repair it. Bioengineering
 creates a  stable streambank covc
 ered with tree/shrub/grass planti-
 ngs, and is an effective alternative
 to structures. It is often used in
 combination with riparian buffer
 strips alongside the streambank to
 provide an effective and  attractive
 streamside buffer zone.

  forking Tree  Practices

A community without trees, like the one above, is not cost-efficient, environmentally friendly, or aesthetically pleasing. Applying
appropriate working tree practices to this area, as shown in the illustrations to each side, will promote natural resource conservation
and enhance natural and human environments.

...To Work in the Rural/Urban Interface
                       Working trees play an important role in mitigating environmental problems between urban
                       dwellers and rural enterprises. Working trees on rural lands and watersheds directly influ-
                       ence communities by intercepting wind- and water-carried contaminants and sediments,
                       keeping them out of the community. Conversely, properly applied working trees on urban
                       lands and watersheds benefit rural areas by buffering them from accelerated urban water
                       flow and associated contamination. Community working tree practices can also assist in
                       solving urban-associated natural resource problems such as stabilizing landfills and dispos-
                       al of treated sludge and wastewater.

...To Enhance Recreation
                       Working trees planted around recreation areas like parks, picnic areas, ball fields, and golf
                       courses, block the wind and provide shade, helping to create a more pleasant atmosphere.
                       This naturally improves wildlife habitat and adds recreational opportunites such as bird-
                       watching, hiking, biking, and nature walks. Working trees in this  setting also provide per-
                       fect environmental education sites!
  .To Enhance the Environment for People
                       People are the major component of communities. Working trees address human needs by
                       improving quality of life, health, comfort, enjoyment, and recreation. Trees and shrubs
                       planted in the rural/urban interface improve water quality and reduce the amount of dust,

                       noise, wind, and blowing snow entering the community.

                       Strips of densely-planted trees and shrubs significantly reduce the annoyance of city noise.
                       Combining trees and shrubs with land forms, such as earthmounds, can result in reduction
                       by as much as 12 decibels (approximately half)! Furthermore, tree and shrub plantings
                       soften the visual harshness of walls and fences that typically line the urban landscape.

                       Working trees can earn many tunes their cost by changing the visual quality and value of a
                       property. Whether it is improving the appearance of commercial property or screening out
                       an undesirable view, a single row of conifers accomplishes multiple objectives. Just think,
                       by strategically planting trees and shrubs, you can have a windbreak, a visual screen, and
                       increase your property value, all at the same time!

      National     /V    This brochure was developed by the National Agroforestry Center (NAC) in cooperation with the following partners in the "Working  (
     Agroforestry  tjfjj*  Trees For Communities" Project  USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, Community Assistance and Resource
       Center    ^&  Development Division  US Environmental Protection Agency  National Association of Conservation Districts  National
                       Association of State Foresters  National Arbor Day Foundation  American Forests  International Society of Arboriculture  Urban
                       Resources Partnership  Alliance for Community Trees  National Association of RC&D Councils  National Forest Foundation 
                       Boys & Girls Clubs of America  Habitat for Humanity International  Big Brothers Big Sisters of America.

                       NACs Mission: The National Agroforestry Center is a partnership of the USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Station and the
                       USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service. The Center's purpose is to accelerate the development and application of agro-
                       forestry technologies to attain more economically, environmentally, and socially sustainable land-use systems. To accomplish its mis-
                       sion, the  Center interacts with a national network of cooperators to conduct research, develop technologies and tools, establish
                       demonstrations, and provide useful information to natural resource professionals.

                       Address: National Agroforestry Center, USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Station / USDA Natural Resources Conservation
                       Service, East Campus - UNL, Lincoln, Nebraska 68583-0822. For a supply of brochures, contact Kim Isaacson, 402-437-5178 ext.
                        13. For more information on the Center, contact Jerry Bratton, 402-437-5178 ext. 24 or Bruce Wight, ext. 36.

                       Some working tree practices can be supported by cost-share incentives provided by the federal, state, or local government. Contact
                       your State Forester, local Conservation District, or the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) for information about the
                       various incentives presently available.

                       USDA policy prohibits discrimination because of race, color, national origin, sex, age, religion, or handicapping condition. Any per-
                       son who believes he or she has been discriminated against in any USDA-related activity should immediately contact the Secretary of
                       Agriculture, Washington, DC 20250.