• Stop Cutting Down Trees! L.A. Needs Shade And Birds to Eat Bugs that Transmit Disease

    First, a basic truth: Our City has nature.  “We have this idea that there’s the urban world and there’s nature. We’re the only species that looks at landscape that way,” says Dr. Eric Strauss, executive director for the Center for Urban Resilience at Loyola Marymount University-Los Angeles. Los Angeles is a naturally remarkable living landscape.  It’s old and rich.  It’s living because no glaciers made their way into the terrain here and left the bedrock lifeless upon their retreat.  That gave the plants and animals a long time to differentiate into an astonishing array of species.  The movement provided by earthquakes created hills, valleys and creeks that enabled plants and animals to…

  • Planting A Parkway Tree? Here’s What You Need To Know

    Parkway trees are not “City trees”. Most deeds show property ownership extending to the middle of the street. According the the City, “whoever owns the fee title in the parking or parkway owns the trees that grow thereon, which are a part of the realty, subject to the power to remove or regulate their growth when necessary to the enjoyment of the street for purposes of travel” (City of Los Angeles Bureau of Street Services 2008). The adjacent property owner is personally responsible for watering and routine maintenance of existing trees and trees they plant in the parkway, though the City may return to prune mature trees when funding allows.  The…

  • Oaks

    The city of Los Angeles has been permitting the removal of our protected native oak trees at a rate of at least 1 every week. Wide-spread development of the unimaginative kind that doesn’t take our unique landscape into account is to blame. Also to blame is an attitude that mature oaks are easily replaceable.  They’re not. Oaks are not really a renewable resource because they grow slowly. While they may grow slow, oaks can live a really long time. The average lifespan for a healthy Coast Live Oak, for instance, is 900 years.  Because they are slow growing and have dense tissues they hold more carbon than practically any other…

  • Dear Los Angeles City Forest Officer

    We oppose your draft street tree list that proposes the development of a standard for planting exotic trees in our right of ways, an approach that presupposes that exotic trees are the right trees for this City and most native trees are not.  You make unsubstantiated assertions about the exotic trees being the right trees for this place but fail to acknowledge that exotic trees have significant environmental downsides. First, and foremost, exotic trees are ecologically sterile, they do not provide food for our birds, butterflies, bees, and other wildlife. Although it would be far preferable to use locally native tree species because they are ecologically productive, foster the City’s…

  • The Most Radical Thing You Can Do Is Stay Home REBECCA SOLNIT

    LONG AGO the poet and bioregionalist Gary Snyder said, “The most radical thing you can do is stay home,” a phrase that has itself stayed with me for the many years since I first heard it. Some or all of its meaning was present then, in the bioregional 1970s, when going back to the land and consuming less was how the task was framed. The task has only become more urgent as climate change in particular underscores that we need to consume a lot less. It’s curious, in the chaos of conversations about what we ought to do to save the world, how seldom sheer modesty comes up — living smaller, staying…

  • 4 Sacramento Bills Bad for Trees and Open Space

    Trees and open space are great at mitigating the negative effects of urbanization.  The City of Los, as you probably already know, is subject to the Urban Heat Island Effect. The increased heat of the city is due to all that concrete and other reflective surfaces that magnify heat.  In the summer our big trees bring the ambient temperature of concrete on a hot day down as much as 30 degrees over a very large area.  Trees, especially the big ones, also make our city cleaner, and healthier – – We’d need trees if they were ugly and smelled bad. Unfortunately, our big trees are the first to go and…

  • Q&A: Environmental Impact Report for the Los Angeles Citywide Sidewalk Repair Program

    1. What does the Sidewalk Repair Environmental Impact Report (EIR) do? If certified, the report locks in for decades an outdated approach to sidewalk reconstructions and gives the Bureau of Engineering (BOE) broad authority to “streamline” the removal of an estimated 12,860 street trees for sidewalk improvements (repair, reconstruction, widening, curbs and curb-ramps), anywhere in the city, any time over the next 30 years without future review or input from residents. Under the report’s program, entire streets can be cleared of their mature trees without additional analysis of the alternatives, local health and environmental effects, and without any option for affected communities to have a say in what happens to the…

  • McMansions Are Killing L.A.’s Urban Forest

     Laura Bliss from CityLab covers important research that shows that the compact suburban bungalows of the 1950s were actually pretty tree-friendly by comparison in McMansions are Killing L.A.’s Urban Forest             

  • FOUR COMMON TREE TRIMMING MISTAKES

    Trees in our yard are part of a larger landscape and ecosystem that cleans and cools our air, reduces noise, provides privacy, food and habitat for wildlife, and purifies our water – All very vital services in an environment of rapid urbanization and global warming. DON’T TURN OUR VALUABLE NEIGHBORHOOD ASSESTS INTO LEGAL, AESTHETIC, ECONOMIC AND ENVIRONMENTAL LIABILITIES. 1. Topping: This is usually one of the most common and ugly of tree trimming mistakes. Topping involves cutting away a large section of the top of a tree’s crown, or all the leafing branches across the top of the tree. What you’re left with is a very ugly deformed tree with a severely…

  • The City Gives Up on Its Troublesome Trees. They’re Your Problem Now.

    In the City of Los Angeles, a tree planted in the parkway in front of a home doesn’t entirely belong to anyone. The homeowner is not allowed to remove it or even trim it in a manner the city deems improper, but is responsible for maintaining it and is legally on the hook if it wrecks the sidewalk or sewer pipes or topples onto people and things. If deprived of water, trees tend to become diseased and unstable. If what’s around them is ground as hard as concrete or actual concrete, their roots disrupt pavement and sewer lines, which explains the predominance of broken sidewalks and pipes throughout the city.…