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Help Plan Better Future for Santa Monica's Urban Forest  

By Lookout Staff

June 3, 2011 – Looking down from the mountains surrounding the Los Angeles Basin, one of the easiest ways to spot Santa Monica is by locating its verdant tree-lined streets.

Now the community is being asked to help maintain this arboreal treasure by attending the Urban Forest Master Plan Task Force's workshops this month.

“We all have trees in our neighborhoods that we know and love,” said Judy Abdo, former mayor and current chair of the City Council-appointed Task Force.

“In a dynamic system such as an urban forest, change is inevitable,” Abdo said. “It's vitally important that the community has a say in how our urban forest grows.”

Workshop participants will have a say in identifying tree species street by street, so that a plan is in place when trees need to be replaced due to age or disease. Their recommendations will be incorporated in the Task Force's master plan which will be presented to the City Council for its approval in coming months.

There are 38,000 trees and counting in Santa Monica's urban forest, and over the past 20 years the city has planted over 7,000 trees, increasing the forest by 21 per cent, according to the city's urban forest website.

The average lifespan of a street tree is 60 years, and 40 per cent of the forest is between 20 and 40 years old, the site says.

In addition to facts about Santa Monica's trees, the site includes a link to a map showing all of the city's street tree species.

According to the U.S. Forest Service, trees are a good investment both in terms of the environment and in dollars and cents. Their 2001 study showed that for every dollar spent on tree care, the community receives $1.62 in returned benefit.

So the “Street Tree Species Selection” workshops offer residents a chance to add to the city's bounty, while guaranteeing that the trees they love the most are included in the urban forest.

The workshops will be held on June 4 and June 25. They will start at 10:30 a.m. and be held in the multipurpose room of the Main Public Library at 601 Santa Monica Boulevard.

For more information about the workshops, call (310) 458-8974. For more information about Santa Monica's urban forest and the Urban Forest Master Plan Task Force, go to


“We all have trees in our neighborhoods that we know and love.” Judy Abdo, former mayor

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