As you may have already heard, TreePeople is really excited about TreeMapLA, a tool that will allow Angelenos to map trees and watershed solutions–like rain barrels and rain gardens–to help all of Los Angeles learn just how valuable our urban forest and watersheds are!
Los Angeles County has almost 100 different cities within its nearly 5,000 square miles, which means that historically there have been numerous systems for tracking trees and not much communication between those responsible for those systems and for the area’s trees. As a result, we don’t have a very good sense of LA’s urban forest as a whole. With TreeMapLA, however, cities, agencies, non-profit organizations, and people like you can collaborate to collect the data that will let us know how LA’s trees and watersheds are doing!
While we are excited for TreeMapLA in general, we are super excited about the following features, which have the real potential to change the way Angelenos learn about and engage with their urban forest and watersheds.
The Watershed Solutions layer allows users to map solutions such as rain barrels, rain gardens, and cisterns, and to see the value they provide in terms of water conserved and stormwater runoff reduced. We tend to assume that these solutions sparsely populate LA, but the map lets us see just how many there are and where they are throughout the city. That makes it easier for Angelenos to check out the rain gardens and rain barrels near them and to find inspiration to install their own. LA’s water future depends on these watershed solutions becoming the norm in all of our neighborhoods, and TreeMapLA will will help make them more visible.
Even as cities and agencies devote more money and resources to caring for trees, the best way to ensure a healthy urban forest is for everybody to take personal responsibility for our trees. The stewardship features on the map allow users to share their interactions with the trees around them. You can tag trees with Actions, such as watering or pruning, to let other users know what you’ve done to benefit the tree. The Alerts feature allows users to make note of what’s going on with trees, from Actions that can help a tree, like “Needs Water,” to distinctive features such as “In Bloom Now” or “Fall Color” that will help others enjoy the tree, too.
In the Advanced Search section, you can search for Alerts to see what Actions you can perform, or search by Actions to find out who’s been caring for the trees near you.
If your specialty is tree identification (like me!), you can search by “Missing Species” to help fill in that information. Or if you want to see how your neighborhood stacks up against the next one over, you can see the benefits that only the trees in your area are providing–that is, how they’re improving the air quality or how much CO2 they’ve stored.
Now you don’t have to put down your phone to interact with nature–in fact, we encourage you to keep it in your hand (as long as there’s a tape measure in the other hand)! The TreeMapLA mobile app (available for iPhone and Android) allows you to carry a map of LA’s trees in your pocket. Check out “Nearby Trees” to see what trees have been mapped near where you’re standing. While you’re waiting for your friend outside the movie theater, take the time to enter that magnolia tree into the map, so that the next person who’s waiting in front of the theater can learn what a magnolia looks like.
TreeMapLA has many more exciting features coming soon. We hope you’ll keep checking back to learn all the new ways that you can benefit your trees as they keep benefitting you!