Community Forestry, Certificate

Program Code: COMFOR_UCT

Program Description

The population of the United States is projected to grow 48% from 296 million in 2005 to 438 million in 2050. Planning for and managing natural resources closer to people and communities will become more important, not less. Demand for professionals (foresters, landscape architects, landscape contractors, city planners) with training in the best management of community forests will continue to grow. The goal of the 15-credit Community Forestry certificate is to provide advanced knowledge on the planning and management of trees, forests, and other natural resources including their role in community development. Participants will gain an understanding of soils, tree care and maintenance, community forestry management plans, land use planning and regulatory policy, and working in connected human ecological systems.

You Might Like This Program If...

  • You are interested in better planning and managing streetscapes, parks, and other public landscapes.
  • You are interested in conserving ecosystem processes and providing ecosystem services in built environments.
  • You enjoy connecting people with the natural resources that provide for their health, happiness, and quality of life.

Program Requirements

To earn an undergraduate certificate in Community Forestry, a minimum of 15 credits is required.

Required Courses
FOR 401Urban Forest Management3
HORT 301Principles of Arboriculture3
SOILS 101Introductory Soil Science Keystone/General Education Course3
HORT 408Landscape Plant Establishment and Maintenance3-4
or SOILS 404 Urban Soils
Select one of the following:3
Conflict Resolution and Negotiation Keystone/General Education Course
Environment and Society
Legal Aspects of Resource Management
Human Dimensions of Natural Resources

Certificate Learning Objectives

  • Community Forest Management Plan: Students will demonstrate the ability to apply their knowledge in the development of a community forest management plan.
  • Community Forestry Commissions and Ordinances: Students will demonstrate an understanding of community tree commissions, and street and park tree ordinances.
  • Community Forestry Principles: Students will demonstrate an understanding of the principles of site analysis, tree selection, and tree planting in the built environment.
  • Community Forestry Standards: Students will demonstrate an understanding of the recognized standards for tree pruning and maintenance.
  • Principles of Conserving Green Infrastructure: Students will demonstrate an understanding of the basic principles of land use planning and regulatory policy as tools to conserve green infrastructure and other natural resources.

Academic Advising

The objectives of the university's academic advising program are to help advisees identify and achieve their academic goals, to promote their intellectual discovery, and to encourage students to take advantage of both in-and out-of class educational opportunities in order that they become self-directed learners and decision makers.

Both advisers and advisees share responsibility for making the advising relationship succeed. By encouraging their advisees to become engaged in their education, to meet their educational goals, and to develop the habit of learning, advisers assume a significant educational role. The advisee's unit of enrollment will provide each advisee with a primary academic adviser, the information needed to plan the chosen program of study, and referrals to other specialized resources.


University Park

William Elmendorf
Ibberson Chair in Urban and Community Forestry
Extension Specialist, Community and Urban Forestry
334 Forest Resources Building
University Park, PA 16802

Career Paths

Students earning the Community Forestry certificate learn a range of skills in arboriculture and community forest management that are highly valued by a wide range of employers. Students with backgrounds in community forestry will find job opportunities in state and federal agencies, municipalities, industry, and nonprofit organizations.


Forestry, environmental resource management, landscape architecture, plant science, recreation and tourism, wildlife and fisheries science, and other students earning the certificate in Community Forestry are better positioned to find employment with diverse organizations spanning government, industry, and nonprofit sectors. Such organizations may include (but are not limited to): United States Forest Service, United States Environmental Protection Agency, state forestry agencies, university extension, municipal planning and public works departments, landscape architecture firms, landscape contracting firms, commercial arboriculture firms, environmental consulting firms, and environmental non-profits.


University Park

Undergraduate Programs Office
113 Forest Resources Building
University Park, PA 16802