The president of the Los Angeles Board of Public Works introduced a motion Monday calling for a “tree summit,” along with development of plans for a tree inventory and urban forestry management system, following a presentation of a report critical of the city’s tree policies.
The report was commissioned by City Plants, a nonprofit organization overseeing a public-private partnership between the city of Los Angeles and six other nonprofit organizations, and was prepared by Dudek, an environmental consulting firm.
According to the report, trees are not valued in city budgets and planning, urban forest budgets are far below necessary levels, and an estimated budget increase of $40 to $50 million is needed to manage the urban forest at a sustainable level.
The report also recommended a full tree inventory be taken in the city, along with the development of an urban forestry management system.
“An inventory and assessment of the trees needs to be completed so real data is available to make strategic goals and objectives and create a plan, and then further, to come up with the steps to implement that plan,” Ryan Allen, an urban forester with Dudek, told the board.
Kevin James, president of the Board of Public Works, told City News Service earlier this month that the city’s Urban Forestry Division was decimated during the Great Recession but that there has been an effort by Mayor Eric Garcetti and other leaders to rebuild it. He said the budget for the current fiscal year allowed the city to hire 55 new Urban Forestry Division positions.
“We have had to rebuild from that at a time that there are other very serious budget priorities, and I’m pleased with what we’ve been able to do with the leadership of the mayor and the City Council,” James told CNS. “I know that we have more work to do, and I know it’s not as fast as many people would like, but we have had to dig ourselves out of the rough times of the Great Recession.”
James’ motion also would direct the Bureau of Street Services to develop a plan for preserving healthy trees slated for destruction during a construction project, and to develop a “tree summit” of city leaders, stakeholders and experts to recommend policies on the city’s urban forest.
>> Want to read more stories like this? Get our Free Daily Newsletters Here!Follow us: