Here's a picture of an illegally cut tree in the Glassell Park area of Los Angeles, according to the photographer. Though the lack of foliage makes identification a bit tricky, this multilated tree might be a mature ficus tree, much like the verdant and healthy tree further down the block.
That tree -- the healthy one -- is providing the services that green infrastructure offers us in the city; giving shade and protection from urban heat; filtering particulate pollutants from the air; capturing, holding, and filtering a limited amount of rainwater in the soil if it's planted in the sidewalk, and providing a haven and sanctuary for birds, which, if we were near the tree, probably would be going delightedly and noisily about their business.
I bring this up because the city of Los Angeles, with a ballooning budget deficit, may be facing cuts of as many as three thousand jobs and may eliminate city services such as tree trimming.
This is bad news, not just for city employees, but for all the city's residents. These are difficult times for the people of our city, and now, potentially, for the trees of our city as well, because of the threat of damage to our urban forest. In the nearly four decades that TreePeople has been at work in Los Angeles, we have been through several recessions. In bad times, the budget for tree-trimming is reduced, and as a result, tree-trimming is either deferred or the pruning that is done is often much too severe in an attempt to make the pruning last years longer. Trees can be butchered. Many die. Those that do survive lose much of their ability to provide vital and natural urban infrastructure services.