What is the Cities4Forests Toolbox?

Cities4Forests offers a collection of practical tools from around the world to help cities include forests, trees, and green infrastructure in their decision-making, planning, and investments. Tools include guidance documents, frameworks, analysis tools, and platforms that support the user to take action. The tools cover a range of topics, from valuing trees and forests to maximizing key benefits (such as biodiversity, health, water, and carbon), and planning and managing forest-related projects inside and outside their boundaries.

The Cities4Forests Toolbox highlights tools that are highly recommended, internationally-available, low or no cost, accessible to experts and non-experts, and of interest to cities. These tools were compiled through extensive research, consultations with experts, and discussions with tool developers. Cities4Forests will add new tools as they are released, requested, or recommended.

The Cities4Forests Toolbox is in beta form — the first iteration of development. Cities4Forests appreciates your feedback and suggestions for any additional tools to share with our cities (contact: info@cities4forests.com).

How do I use the Cities4Forests Toolbox?

There are three ways to locate the right tool for a city’s goal, activity, or tool type: 1) by using the search function, 2) by using thematic filters to more easily access relevant tools, or 3) by browsing through the full list of tools. We hope that by browsing users will discover new tools and ideas for their city.

The tools are organized into 10 categories under the following headings:

  1. Why Trees & Forests?
    • Valuing Trees and Forests
  2. Maximizing Benefits for Key Outcomes
    • Health
    • Water
    • Carbon
    • Biodiversity
  3. Planning and Managing Forest-Related Projects
    • Engaging Local Communities
    • Planning Forest-Related Projects
    • Financing Forest-Related Projects
    • Managing and Monitoring Forest-Related Projects
    • Procuring Forest-Friendly Products

To access a tool, users can visit the tool’s website, which is included in a link in the tool’s profile. The tool’s website will have additional information for interested users. Some tool profiles include detailed case studies to illustrate how the tools have been previously used, focusing primarily on the resulting analysis.

Cities4Forests recommends five tools to get started:

Why is the Cities4Forests Toolbox needed?

The Cities4Forests Toolbox responds to a common question asked by cities in their efforts to protect or expand forests at the inner, nearby or faraway scale:

What are the best tools available for my city to help value trees and forests, maximize their benefits, and plan and manage forest-related projects?

The Cities4Forests Toolbox is developed specifically for city officials, who may apply a tool on their own or with the support of their Cities4Forests focal point. Cities4Forests is also working with specific tool developers to help them expand to international locations, especially in Latin America, Africa, and Southeast Asia.

For example, many of the Latin American cities that Cities4Forests works with expressed interest in understanding how to value the benefits of trees in their municipalities. Based on the Cities4Forests Toolbox research, the iTree suite of tools appeared to address this challenge. As a result, Cities4Forests helped organize a Spanish-language training on iTree for the cities of Guadalajara, Mexico City, Culiacán, Mérida, León, Palmas, and São Paulo. Now, those cities are equipped to measure the value of trees and better inform local policy-makers of the benefits trees provide for city residents.

For questions, please reach out to us at: info@cities4forests.com.


  • Region: refers to the region where this tool can be used
  • Forest Level: refers to the type of forest level where the tool is relevant
  • Scale: refers to the scale where the tool is most relevant
  • Resource Type: refers to the form that the resource takes
  • Expertise Level: refers to the level of expertise one needs to start using the tool
  • Input Data Required: refers to the information needed to start using the tool
  • Outputs: refers to the information resulting from using the tool
  • Language: refers to the language in which the tool is available
  • Cost: refers to the cost of using the tool, recognizing that personnel time will be a cost of using all tools