Mayor Eric Garcetti
Mayor Eric Garcetti in his campaign office in 2017. Courtesy of the mayor

Mayor Eric Garcetti began the tree planting season and started a new street tree inventory to help manage Los Angeles’ urban forest.

“Trees are powerful assets in the work of protecting our planet,” Garcetti said Saturday. “We are doing more than adding greenery to neighborhoods and beautifying L.A. We’re building a healthier city and strengthening communities hardest hit by the climate emergency.”

Garcetti was joined at the event at Denker and Vernon avenues in South Los Angeles by Councilman Marqueece Harris-Dawson, civic leaders and residents.

The citywide street tree inventory will enable the Bureau of Streets Services and city Forest Officer Rachel Malarich to collect better data, follow trends more closely and better determine the most effective tree-planting practices for Los Angeles’ streets.

Completing the inventory is a critical step in achieving the two primary urban forestry goals laid out in Garcetti’s Green New Deal — planting 90,000 trees by 2021 and increasing tree canopy in areas of greatest need by at least 50% by 2028.

“Restoring the tree canopy is a vital step toward ensuring health equity across the city. In addition to improving neighborhood aesthetics and providing shade, trees help address serious health concerns like asthma, which disproportionately impacts South L.A. residents,” Harris-Dawson said.

The event was led by city officials and the Koreatown Youth + Community Center. The planting efforts will be made possible by a state grant secured by the city and center. The funding will bring 164 new street trees to Vernon Avenue and Western Avenue and a total of 1,200 trees across Central and South Los Angeles, Garcetti’s office said.

“KYCC has been working for over 10 years to bring more street trees to South L.A.,” said center Environmental Services Manager Clarissa Boyajian. “Trees clean our air, provide welcome shade and improve both mental and physical health.

“We’re excited to partner with the Mayor’s Office to kick off the 90,000 trees that will be planted as part of the Green New Deal and the city’s new street tree inventory. KYCC has been a planting partner in Central and South L.A. for many years, and we’re excited to continue increasing tree canopy in the parts of our city that need it the most.”

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