Tree Cities

Desired Trend


Current Trend

Baseline (2010): 20.9%
Current (2016): 25.4%

Theme Green


Percent of municipalities that are certified by Tree City USA

Why is it Important?

Trees provide tremendous benefits by reducing energy use, treating stormwater, improving air quality, fighting climate change, reducing stress, and increasing property value for homes and businesses.  By shading buildings in the summer and blocking wind in the winter, trees help reduce energy use. Trees reduce stormwater runoff and erosion by slowing and intercepting rainfall with leaves and branches and increasing absorption of stormwater in the ground. They improve air quality by absorbing pollutants such as ozone, nitrogen dioxide, and sulfur dioxide and producing oxygen. Trees fight climate change by absorbing carbon dioxide and sequestering carbon. Trees increase property value of homes by as much as 15 percent and shoppers are more likely to visit and spend more money at stores in areas with high quality tree canopy.1

The Tree City USA program, run by the Arbor Day Foundation, recognizes communities that meet the four core standards of sound urban forestry management: maintaining a tree board or department, having a community tree ordinance, spending at least $2 per capita on urban forestry and celebrating Arbor Day.

How are we Doing?

The percent of municipalities that are certified Tree City increased from the baseline year 2010 to 2016 – from 20.9 percent to 25.4 percent of municipalities, due to the net increase of nine certified municipalities. Over the longer time period from 2000 to 2016, the number of certified municipalities increased by 24 and the percent of municipalities increased by 12 percentage points. For several years, the number of certified municipalities had stagnated, but in 2016, six additional cities became certified.2 As of 2016, 50 municipalities in the St. Louis region were a certified Tree City. The percent of the population residing in tree cities increased from 47.8 in 2010 to 65.7 percent in 2016 In addition to the certified municipalities, Scott Air Force base is also a certified Tree City.

Geographic Level

St. Louis eight county bi-state region, including Franklin, Jefferson, St. Charles and St. Louis counties and city of St. Louis in Missouri and Madison, Monroe and St. Clair counties in Illinois. View map.


1 Wolf, Kathleen. Local Economics, 25 June 2010; accessed on 4 February 2014 at

2This data accurately reflects the historical trend for communities in Missouri, but accurate historical data for communities in Illinois is unavailable. To account for the lack of data, it is assumed that the six communities in Illinois that were certified in 2013 did not have any lapse in certification in previous years and that communities that were not certified in 2013 were also not certified in previous years.

Data Sources

The Arbor Day Foundation and the Missouri Department of Conservation