An urban forest can be broadly defined as a network of all the publicly and privately-owned trees and forests in and around cities. It can provide a wide range of benefits and ecosystem services including:
The City of Los Angeles is facing an Urban Tree Crisis due to climate change, droughts, extreme heat, emerging pests and diseases, and development, which can significantly impact Angelenos' everyday lives as well as health and well-being. An Urban Forestry Management Plan (UFMP) will provide the foundation for the City to maintain and grow a sustainable urban forest to address these threats, which are drastically reducing the tree population. Here are some basic facts:
From 2000-2009 the 20 largest cities in the Los Angeles basin saw an annual decrease in tree canopy cover of 1.2% due to increasing home sizes.
Though 90% of the urban forest in the City is on private lands, there are weak or rarely enforced tree protection policies on private lands, allowing for tree removals when we need to grow the canopy to increase the overall benefits it delivers.
Municipality-wide urban forestry funding was found to be well below what is needed to manage the urban forest, with little to no dedicated funding.
Comprehensive and effective tree planting and maintenance was found to be low, with limited overall municipality-wide planning and post-care.
In Southern California, the Polyphagous Shot Hole Borer beetle alone could kill as many as 27 million trees which is roughly 38% of the 71 million urban trees in the region and the estimated cost of removing and replacing them is $36 billion.
These factors suggest Los Angeles is at a critical period for potential catastrophic tree canopy cover loss.
These worst-case scenarios suggest tumultuous times for urban forests, people, and the ecosystems upon which we all depend. However, if the City is willing to invest towards creating a more sustainable urban forest that’s better equipped to respond to various environmental threats, the City’s trees will be healthier, more diverse, and better cared for.
TreePeople’s mission is to inspire, engage, and support people to take personal responsibility for the urban environment – making it safe, healthy, fun, and sustainable, and to share our process as a model for the world. TreePeople has been a pioneering leader and a strong advocate for urban forestry at the policy and grassroots levels.
We strongly believe that trees in cities are essential infrastructure to protect, support, and sustain our daily life ranging from providing shade, water, and food to enhancing human health and well-being, community cohesion, and economic growth. We need trees in the City more than ever as we are facing a new norm (e.g., extreme heat, droughts, and fires).
Over 45 years, we have involved more than 3 million people in planting and caring for almost 3 million trees which have made transformative changes by greening schools, shading homes, revitalizing streets and parks, restoring mountains, and uniting communities. In addition, TreePeople’s Policy department works closely with policy- and decision- makers at the city, county, and state levels to ensure a healthy, equitable, and climate-resilient urban forest.
In summary, we need trees and trees need us! Join TreePeople and advocate for an Urban Forest Management Plan for our City and our communities by writing a letter to every LA City Councilmember/mayor’s office, by donating to the work of TreePeople’s Policy team, and by signing our petition.
Make a difference and be a part of the change you want to see in L.A. today!
We ask all City of Los Angeles residents to please write to every LA City Councilmember and the Mayor’s office. Protecting the community and the environment costs money. Elected officials need to hear from you directly so that they know that the public supports these decisions.
TreePeople’s Policy team works to inspire, engage, support, and share nature-based solutions as a model for the world. The team works with individuals, organizations, and policy-makers to develop and support programs that will create a more climate resilient L.A.