Urgent call to save Center for Urban Forest Research

What we don’t know can indeed hurt us, and one of the most dangerous areas of public ignorance about the environment today is about the importance of urban trees.

You may expect this kind of statement from the President of TreePeople. But I can quote with confidence numerous examples of the literally life saving benefits of trees in cities - and by contrast, the costly and dangerous consequences of cities not having trees. I can do this because of the Center for Urban Forest Research.

Now the Center is under threat.

Under a new plan, the U.S. Forest Service’s Pacific Southwest Research Station is proposing to eliminate the Center for Urban Forest Research. CUFR’s work will become part of The Urban Connections and Social Dynamics program area consisting of five social-economic scientists who concentrate on the human impacts to national forest lands; and two bio-physical scientists.

This proposed plan puts at grave risk a valuable research organization that has provided thousands of decision makers with data and tools valuing urban trees’contributions to quality of life, ranging from energy conservation, air quality, and water quality, to human health and safety, to taxpayer savings.

Urban foresters, government officials, and community organizations have used the CUFR's research to guide the development of urban forest programs in cities around the United States.

WIth climate change, long term water shortages, public health vulnerabilities, and urban sustainability all growing in importance, this move could not be more ill-timed. It’s essential that a long-term commitment is made to continuing research that quantifies the values of urban forest services to support sustainability plans and activities across the nation.

The best time to comment on PSW reorganization plan is by July 15, 2010. Please take a moment today to send an email voicing your support to save the Center for Urban Forest Research:

Dr. Deanna Stouder, Station Chief
Pacific Southwest Research Station

Please send a copy of your letter to:
USDA Forest Service
Research and Development
Ann Bartuska, Deputy Chief for Research

And to Nancy Hughes
Executive Director, California Urban Forests Council

On behalf of all city dwellers currently broiling under the summer sun, I thank you.