The words “urban” and “forest” may sound like contradictory terms but our urban environments are, or could be, vast forests of street trees, park trees, and backyard trees. Trees are very important in the urban environment, where they serve many valuable purposes. Trees:
- Capture, hold, and filter water to clean it and buffer communities from flooding
- Serve as a green oasis respite from the built environment
- Offer habitat for animals, insects, people and other living beings
- Cool the atmosphere to counter global warming
- Generate the oxygen we breathe
- Slow or stop erosion and absorb runoff
- Create beauty, a sense of safety, community, and much more.
Andy Lipkis, world-renowned leader in urban forestry, is founder of Tree People in Los Angeles. We kick off this episode with Andy giving an overview and creating an appreciation for urban forestry. We meet him at TreePeople facilities in the Santa Monica Mountain where he tours us through demonstration and learning environments designed to serve and train a diverse audience.
Closer to home, we talk with politicians involved in the beginning of San Diego’s urban forestry efforts. We get an update on the status of San Diego’s urban forest, its management, and the conflicts inherent in the process. We meet community members whose grass roots efforts save and protect heritage trees, school children learning about the value of trees and how to care for them, too. That discussion helps us understand what each of us can do to support trees in our neighborhoods and our communities. Along the way, we learn about selecting trees for our own gardens and neighborhoods.