The City of Los Angeles, StreetsLA, Urban Forestry Division is responsible for a significant portion of the urban forest. An urban forest is comprised of street trees, park trees, residential trees, native trees and plants, landscaping, vegetation, and, perhaps most importantly, people.
The Urban Forestry Division manages nearly 700,000 street trees growing along 6,500 miles of public roads, making the City of Los Angeles’ street tree population the largest urban forest in the nation, and possibly the world. With over 1,000 different species, varieties and cultivators, the city’s street tree population is also the most diverse in the world.
This urban forest produces many benefits for the city’s residents. We all know that trees can beautify a street, a neighborhood or a community, but you may not be aware of the many environmental benefits that a healthy and sustainable urban forest provides.
Urban forest trees shade our homes and streets, reducing energy usage and minimizing the “heat island effect.” A properly selected and maintained tree can reduce summer cooling cost by 10 to 50 percent. In the winter, properly placed trees can shield your home from cold winds. Trees help clean the air by absorbing and storing carbon, removing it from the atmosphere. Carbon is a main ingredient in the formation of smog. Trees produce oxygen, and a mature tree can produce enough oxygen annually to meet the needs of a family of four for an entire year. Trees also trap air pollution particles. Trees intercept and absorb storm water, reducing runoff and soil erosion. Trees can screen out noise pollution and reduce stress. Studies have shown that hospital patients whose rooms looked out onto an area planted with trees were happier and healed faster than those patients who did not have that benefit. Trees also provide habitat for wildlife, which is very important in an urban setting. Trees also can improve property values by as much as 15 percent.
All these benefits that trees provide can only be realized if trees are selected, planted and maintained properly.
The City of Los Angeles, StreetsLA, Urban Forestry Division is committed to managing the street trees in the city to ensure that all the residences of the city enjoy the optimum benefits that can be obtained from this precious resource known as the urban forest.