Urban Forestry

Photo of Nicholas School students at a tree planting event in Durham
Photo of Nicholas School students at a tree planting event in Durham


In 2013, the DCOI began developing partnerships to plant trees in our immediate community of Durham, NC. Soon after, the DCOI expanded its scope to plant trees throughout the state, and in 2015 opened the door for other institutions to follow suit by creating an Urban Forestry Protocol for carbon offset generation. The protocol is designed for use by institutions interested in tree planting projects and simplifies documentation requirements to better fit the scale of these projects.



  • DCOI has pioneered 7 urban forestry pilot projects throughout North Carolina, Arizona, and New York.
  • Partnered with Arizona State University, Elon University, Davidson College, Pace University, and Green Mountain College.
  • The Urban Forestry Protocol will result in over 6,400 trees planted by the end of 2017.
  • DCOI has written recommendations for how to quantify on-campus trees and forests to ensure additionality.
Photo of DCOI's tree planting locations
In 2016 and 2017, the DCOI has 6 tree planting projects with the majority being in North Carolina.

Bundled Offsets

Bundling offsets is a unique strategy designed to decrease risk, improve flexibility, and allow universities to fully leverage their research and academic resources. Bundled offsets couple inexpensive, low-risk, 3rd party verified credits with urban tree planting projects that have significant co-benefits but can be costly. Through this innovative model, DCOI will demonstrate that climate impact can occur concurrent with climate resilience building efforts to incentivize investments in the future of our communities while working to curtail the global effects of climate instability. This strategy is designed specifically with academic institutions in mind, in order to provide a strategy for reducing the risk of developing innovative projects for reducing emissions. A guide to offset bundling is available in the resources section below.

Tree planting Durham


Project Co-Benefits

Educational: Tree planting events provide volunteer opportunities for community members to learn the benefits of urban forests, and assist in the development of curricula about the life and measurement of trees.

Social: Create a safer walking environment by providing a barrier between cars and sidewalks. Provide mental and physical health benefits to nearby residents. Increase property values and improve business traffic by encouraging people to walk on the sidewalk.

Environmental: Remove harmful pollutants from car exhaust, reduce storm water runoff, provide shade to buildings to reduce energy consumption, and provide biological habitat.

Scalable: By developing an offset protocol and pioneering novel solutions to solve the needs of institutions striving to achieve carbon neutrality our work enables other schools to plant urban trees and have a climate impact.

Project Partners: Keep Durham Beautiful, Trees Across Durham, and the City and County of Durham.


Urban Forestry Protocol (DCOI)

Urban Forestry Program Guide

Carbon Offset Bundling Guidance

Carbon Sink Guidance