While listening to NPR a couple weeks back, I heard this fascinating piece on trees in California. I thought I would intersperse some of the text from the documentary with pictures from around the Town.
One thing strikes you as you drive around San Francisco, Sacramento, Los Angeles, or practically any other city in California: the higher the income of the neighborhood, the larger the tree canopy.
As we drive around, I notice a few homes have paved over their postage stamp-sized lawns, so that cars can be parked there.
The urban foresters think that much of their job involves public education. Getting trees to grow takes more than the act of planting, watering, and pruning. The program has to go deeper, into community organizing and awareness. The survival rate of new trees planted in affluent neighborhoods is 80%. In poor neighborhoods, it can be as low as 3%.
In underserved communities, you usually have very few trees. And the environment for trees is very, very rough. Trees do not do well around a lot of reflective concrete. They don't do well in areas that are covered with black asphalt, storing heat. They don't do well where there's no one there to care for them on a regular basis. And they don't do well where they're vandalized.
Exactly half the water Los Angeles uses is for landscape irrigation, so it's critical that this [massive tree planting] be a very smart approach. Just random planting of any trees would radically increase water consumption.
"According to the Forest Service, a native tree in its natural setting with a 100-foot diameter canopy and that mulch and processed soil 5 feet deep--that tank holds 57,000 gallons in a flash flood. And it doesn't just hold it, it cleans it and puts it back in the aquifer." "The fact that it's intercepting all that water is a good thing--not just for the tree, although it needs more--but it's good for us. It's good for us because it's intercepting the water, and that prevents more runoff."
Oakland Urban Paths: downtown murals
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