What is the Urban Forest Program?
The Urban Forest Program is a special initiative of Earthwatch Institute in partnership with local non-profits and managers to connect people with nature in urban communities through community science. Combining community action and volunteering, the Urban Forest Program allows volunteers to contribute to local environmental management plans and scientific research, by tracking the growth and survivorship of city trees. At the same time, volunteers gain greater awareness of urban ecology.
Why do we need to track trees in Long Beach?
Trees provide essential services and benefits to Long Beach, services called ecosystem services. These include climate change mitigation, filtration of storm water, energy conservation, carbon sequestration and storage, esthetic value, and improved physical and psychological human health.
Urban trees are threatened by pollution, emerging pests and diseases, lack of access to water, soil compaction, shading by buildings, and removal. Long Beach has a number of programs to increase the number of the right trees in the right places and with the right partners.
- Long Beach Tree Planting Program: The Office of Sustainability provides and plants drought tolerant street trees for residents. Homeowners, businesses, or community/neighborhood groups in Long Beach can request trees by completing an application available at sustainablelb.com.
- The city was awarded a grant from CAL FIRE in 2014 that would complete the city’s urban forest inventory by including park trees. The inventory would prove information on the tree location, species, condition, and maintenance needs which are needed in order to sustain a thriving urban forest.
In addition to these programs, the Urban Forest Community Science Program can help the city accomplish its goals by provide local tree managers with data and new tools to maintain healthy urban forests.
This program will also transform residents of all ages into community scientists and connect them with nature where they live. They will be involved directly in helping to make Long Beach a model of a climate-resilient city and a more attractive and livable city.