L.A.’s trees are more essential than ever. The city needs to start treating them that way

While bird lovers, environmentalists and poets have long put a high value on trees, the hard-nosed number crunchers in government have not. Trees have often been treated as merely aesthetic enhancements. Nice, but not essential. That’s one reason why tree maintenance is among the first government services cut during a recession.

That limited view is changing, and there is increasing recognition that trees are more than just pretty things. With climate change, big trees will be increasingly useful to remove pollution from the air, collect water during rainstorms and create shade that cools nearby property.

But for all the benefits that trees provide Los Angeles, city officials still do not hold the urban forest in the same regard as other public infrastructure, like streets and storm drains. That’s one of the key findings from a recent report commissioned by City Plants, a nonprofit that works with city departments to plant and care for public trees.

Read the entire article at LAtimes.com