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Trees in urban environments provide many aesthetic and environmental benefits including carbon sequestration, storm water interception, and habitat for wildlife and energy conservation. However, the urban environment can be a hostile place for trees. Unlike trees in a remote wilderness, trees in Rights-of-Way and in active recreation areas in parks have to be carefully monitored and maintained. Concerns such as public safety, aesthetics and infrastructure conflicts must be taken into account.

The Department of Public Works (DPW) Urban Forestry Section works closely with other city departments, government agencies, and other community organizations to address any threats to the safe use of Rights-of-Way and public spaces caused by City-owned trees, as well as working to improve the overall health and condition of the trees, community landscapes and natural areas that make up the urban forest in Indianapolis.

DPW Urban Forestry manages tree issues along more than 3,700 miles of Right-of-Way, within parkland covering more than 11,000 acres, and on any other City-owned public spaces of the 370+ square miles of Marion County.

The Department of Business and Neighborhood Services (BNS) also has several specific responsibilities pertaining to urban forestry. Specifically BNS is responsible for enforcing Chapter 701, the tree and Flora ordinance for the City of Indianapolis.

DPW Urban Forestry is responsible for the following city services in parks and right of ways:

  • Tree Removal
  • Tree Pruning
  • Processing tree inspection requests
  • Rapid response to tree emergencies in streets and Rights-of-Way

Other responsibilities include:

  • Coordinating tree plantings with Keep Indianapolis Beautiful (KIB) and other departments in parks and city Rights-of-Way
  • Reviewing plans, drawings and cost projections for public projects in parks, green spaces and Rights-of-Way
  • Representing the City on the Indianapolis/Marion County Tree Board
  • Overseeing all forestry work completed by contractors on City property
  • Pursuing and managing partnerships and grants that benefit the urban forest
  • Working with other departments to manage threats to the urban forest, such as exotic pests and invasive, exotic vegetation
  • Working with BNS to maintain recommended tree planting lists
  • Managing the City's street tree inventory database