• The world’s first forest standard for communities
  • Promotes nature-based solutions and resilience to climate change
  • 16 objectives for urban and community forest certification
  • Third-party audits demonstrate effectiveness of management
  • Applicable to cities and town of all sizes, anywhere in the world
  • Perfect for corporate, hospital, and university campuses
  • Helps maintain and enhance the many values of urban trees
  • Learn more about the thematic certification options:
    1. Community Well-Being and Human Health
    2. Environmental and Conservation Leadership
    3. Climate and Disaster Resilience
    4. Urban Forest Improvement

Download the SFI Urban and Community Forest Sustainability Standard here. (English  |  French  | Spanish)

Guidance For SFI Urban & Community Forest Sustainability Standard

Auditor List

How to Certify

Frequently Asked Questions


This standard is appropriate for organizations that own, manage, or are responsible for urban and/or community forests. These organizations can come from all facets of the urban and community forest sector, including, but not limited to: governmental organizations (i.e., municipalities, counties, states, provinces), non-governmental organizations, Indigenous Peoples, community groups, healthcare organizations, educational organizations, and corporate organizations.


There are many reasons an organization may want to certify their forest. Addressing pressing issues such as climate change, extreme heat, or wildfire risk are just a few. Proper management and care of the urban or community forest will maximize benefits and minimize risks. Third-Party Certification takes it one step further and proves that the organization is meeting the sector-developed standard.

The UCFSS is designed for cities, communities, and other organizations, such as corporate, university, and hospital campuses. There is no minimum or maximum size. Everyone can access and utilize the standard.

The process is the same for all SFI standards:

See forests.org/how-to-certify.

Yes, we have a guidance document that includes the language from the standard, but also includes recommendations, suggestions, examples, and tools to help you manage your forest and meet the standard.

All audits must be conducted by independent, accredited certification bodies. Click here for a list of accredited certification bodies.

There are three categories of costs to consider: Preparing your organization for an audit, the audit, and the SFI Trademark License fee.

Preparing for the audit costs will vary by organization based on size, complexity, and certification option selected.

SFI does not assess fees for audits. Costs for UCFSS audits can vary based on operations and scope and organizations should contact an SFI-accredited certification body for audit cost estimates.

SFI’s SFI Trademark License fees are $1,100 per location for most organizations and $550 per location for universities and local or regional non-profits. For example, if a corporation or other organization wishes to certify campuses in three cities, the total fee would be $3,300.  If a state university system wishes to certify three separate campuses, the fee would be $1,650.

SFI certificates are valid for five years. A check-up (surveillance) audit is needed every 12 months to maintain SFI certification.

Yes. We offer thematic certification. The themes are:

  1. Community Well-Being and Human Health
  2. Environmental and Conservation Leadership
  3. Climate and Disaster Resilience
  4. Urban Forest Improvement

An organization may seek certification to one or more of these options.

No, Arbor Day Foundation is a partner in the development of the new standard. Both organizations see the programs as complimentary. Some organizations will start out as a Tree City and add SFI certification. Others will start out with SFI certification and realize they can add Tree City, Tree Campus, Tree Line, or Tree Cities of the World.


Paul Johnson
SFI Senior Director, Urban and Community Forestry
202-719-1389, ext. 473

Or contact

Alix Olson
SFI Coordinator, Urban and Community Forestry