Milwaukee’s Urban Ecological Analysis is a summary of the city’s urban forest management. The survey was done by American Forests in 1996, and according to the results, Milwaukee’s tree canopy cover is estimated at 16%. The target range for a well-canopied urban area is a 30% to 40% canopy.

In the study, researchers found that Milwaukee’s existing tree canopy cover reduces storm water flow by up to 22% and provides the city with an estimated $17.5 million in environmental benefits. With a higher tree canopy, these benefits can only increase.

The primary ways the city benefits from the tree canopy are storm water management, energy conservation, and air quality control. Flooding and storm water runoff problems can be further reduced by increasing tree cover and reducing impervious surfaces (i.e. paved areas).

Every species of tree has advantages and disadvantages. Overall, the strength of the forest is maximized by the selection of a wide variety of species appropriate for the location.

Managed Land

Of all available land in the city, 20% is managed by the City of Milwaukee. The other 80% of the land is on private/other public property. The City of Milwaukee’s land is at 98% of planting capacity, creating the need to pursue canopy growth and manage diversity on private and other public land.

City-managed land is categorized as:

  • streets and rights-of-way
  • boulevards
  • other city-owned property (green spaces and buffers).

Non-city-managed land is categorized as:

  • industrial areas
  • commercial property
  • residential areas
  • parks