Forestry Professor Helps Shape Urban Forestry Research, Policy, and Practice as Part of National Urban and Community Forestry Advisory Council

Dr. Asia Dowtin, assistant professor of urban forestry in the MSU department of Forestry, was recently appointed to the National Urban and Community Forestry Advisory Council (NUCFAC).

The history of NUCFAC dates back to the Food, Agriculture, Conservation, and Trade Act of 1990, also know as the 1990 farm bill, which ushered in a paradigm shift in national prioritization of and approaches to urban forest management. The 1990 farm bill mandated that, under the direction of state foresters, each U.S. state, territory, and the District of Columbia would have both an urban and community forestry program director and a volunteer coordinator who would work collectively to oversee and advance urban forestry initiatives at the state and territory level. The 1990 farm bill also mandated that a national advisory council be established to help determine the future direction and prioritization of urban forest management and engagement strategies across the U.S.

Today, NUCFAC members – all of whom are volunteers who represent government, community groups, industry, and academia – work together to create and assess progress on the National Ten-Year Urban and Community Forestry Action Plan. The council helps to determine funding priorities for the National Urban and Community Forestry Program, and provides the USDA Forest Service with recommendations on grants that should be funded through the National Urban and Community Forestry Program.


In her role on NUCFAC, Dowtin will represent state government. Her contribution to this role is facilitated in large part by her Partnership for Ecosystem Research and Management (PERM)

faculty appointment, as she works closely with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources to support and advance urban forestry across the state.

When asked what she is looking forward to the most and her NUCFAC service, Dowtin shared, “We are at a time of unprecedented investment in urban forestry in the United States. With the $1.5 billion in support provided by the Inflation Reduction Act, there is now the financial infrastructure in place to ensure that the benefits of urban forests are equitably enjoyed by all who live, work, and play in our cities – whether that's through workforce development opportunities, engagement in residential green spaces, or through the countless recreational activities that can be enjoyed within an urban forest. It will be an honor to be a part of helping to shape the ways in which the public and policymakers both think about and reap the benefits of this new era and inclusive urban forestry.”

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