There is significant merit and synergy in managing Carrboro’s forest to reduce energy consumption and store carbon, while simultaneously forwarding many community goals. Trees influence thermal comfort and energy use by providing shade and reducing wind speeds. For example, large trees strategically placed on the sunny side of a house can reduce the air-conditioning demand by roughly 30 percent. One acre of forest absorbs six tons of carbon dioxide and puts out four tons of oxygen. The urban forest also provides significant ecological and societal services such as air, water and soil quality improvement, wildlife habitat, enhanced biodiversity, mental, emotional and physical health and well-being, and aesthetic and economic value.
Examples of the Town's urban forestry efforts include participation in Tree City USA, purchase of the Adams Tract and development of a management plan for the property, and development of provisions for tree protection and open space in the Land Use Ordinance. Town staff have recently started using i-Tree and Talking2Trees as software platforms for assessing and managing Carrboro's urban forest. The North Carolina Urban Forest Council and North Carolina Forest Service Urban Forestry Program offer resources to help with urban forestry activities. An emerging urban forestry interest is in planning for forest resilience in consideration of the impacts of climate change.