By OnMilwaukee Staff Writers   Published Feb 05, 2013 at 8:44 AM

The non-profit conservation group American Forests reports that Milwaukee is on of the top 10 U.S. cities for urban forests.

The list was determined by a judging panel consisting of leading urban forest experts, combined with an in-depth survey and independent data.

"Many cities across the U.S. are doing great work to care for their urban forests," says Scott Steen, American Forests CEO and member of the judging panel.

"Milwaukee first developed an urban forest plan a century ago, and since then, the city has continually altered its activities and practices to address various threats to its forest over the decades. Today, the city boasts a well-maintained, healthy forest thanks to its government, neighborhood groups, nonprofits and others."

American Forests defines urban forests as "ecosystems of trees and other vegetation in and around communities that may consist of street and yard trees, vegetation within parks and along public rights of way and water systems."

The group reports that Milwaukee has more than 3.3 million trees that provide $15 million in stormwater savings and remove 496 tons of pollution annually. In addition, the city has 25 acres of parks for every 1,000 residents.

The judges chose the top 10 cities based on varied criteria that included the government's involvement with developing green spaces and urban forests and the accessibility to the public of those spaces.

The other cities identified to be in the top 10 were Austin, Charlotte, Denver, Minneapolis, New York, Portland, Sacramento, Seattle and Washington, D.C.