San Diego’s Trees Provide Many Benefits
The City Council unanimously approved the Urban Forestry Program Five Year Plan, on Jan. 24, 2017. The Plan was funded by a CalFire planning grant to develop an urban forest management plan. It was developed by City staff, along with consulting urban foresters, key stakeholders and the Community Forest Advisory Board.
Urban forest management plans are developed through the collaborative efforts of many people. An important part of developing the plan is understanding the needs and views of various stakeholders and interested parties. Successful plans require public input. The desires, attitudes, and perceptions of stakeholders, including the public, and decision–makers will have a large impact on the urban forest plan.
A vigorous and engaged urban forestry program is critical to meeting San Diego’s commitment to climate change, carbon sequestration, stormwater reduction, and water conservation. With these goals in mind, the City has will develop a long-range urban forest management plan to guide the City’s urban forest into the future.
Urban forests contribute to San Diegans’ quality of life. Trees that are nurtured within an urban environment, such as San Diego, produce benefits that far exceed the cost of planting and care during the trees’ lifetime. Environmental and aesthetic benefits, such as energy savings, stormwater runoff reduction, cleaner air, and higher property values, are consistently many times greater than tree care costs.
Healthy trees mean healthy people. Trees remove many pollutants from the atmosphere, including nitrogen dioxide, sulfur dioxide, ozone, carbon monoxide, and particulate matter. Each year, 100 large, mature trees have the potential to:
- Remove 7 tons of carbon dioxide.
- Remove 328 pounds of other air pollutants.
- Catch approximately 215,000 gallons of rainwater.
Healthy trees mean healthy communities. Statistics show that tree-filled neighborhoods:
- Are safer and more sociable.
- Help to reduce body and mind stress.
Healthy trees mean better business. In tree-lined business districts, shoppers report:
- More frequent shopping.
- Longer shopping trips.
- A willingness to pay more for parking.
Healthy trees mean homeowner savings. One well-placed large shade tree can provide an average savings of $9 on home air conditioning costs each year. Trees provide enormous cooling benefits.
It is important to keep San Diego’s urban forest thriving. When more trees are removed than planted, the canopy cover is reduced and the benefits we enjoy from trees decline.
For additional information regarding the Urban Forest Management Plan, please contact Brian Widener, City Forester at (619) 527-8050 or [email protected]