Report Saying Forest Budgets Too Low Coming Before Board of Public Works

LOS ANGELES (CNS) - A report from a public-private nonprofit is set to be presented to the Board of Public Works today, criticizing Los Angeles' urban forestry management and asserting that $50 million more is needed annually for the city's trees.

The report was commissioned by City Plants, a nonprofit organization running 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.

Kevin James, president of the Board of Public Works, told City News Service earlier this month he had not yet read the full report but was familiar with some of its basic points, including that more investment is needed in the city's tree management, which he said he “absolutely” agrees with.

James said 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 and that 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.”

Photo: Getty Images

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