Who will save LA’s trees?

Sourced from Curbed LA

The Ficus microcarpa trees along Hollywood’s Cherokee Street create a majestic arch. Walking beneath them is an almost otherworldly experience. In the impenetrable shade, as birds chirp high in the deep green canopy above, the air is unmistakably cooler.

Trees are critical for cooling down warming cities like Los Angeles, where temperatures are expected to increase an average of 4 to 5 degrees Fahrenheit by 2050.

The shade that trees produce can cool surfaces like soil and pavement. But trees can also lower the surrounding daytime summer air temperature up to 10 degrees, thanks to water evaporating from their leaves.

That’s why preserving mature trees that form a canopy should be LA’s priority, says Glynn Hulley, a scientist in the carbon cycle and ecosystems group at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

“It’s a pretty precious resource in cities, and you don’t want to take them down—you want to be adding to them,” he says.

Instead, since 2000, many neighborhoods in the LA region have seen a tree canopy reduction of 14 to 55 percent, according to a University of Southern California study published in 2017.

In recent years, the city’s street trees have taken a hit. According to permits filed with the city of Los Angeles’s street services bureau, 263 street trees—including the 18 on the 1200 block of North Cherokee—are slated to be ripped out in the first five months of this year alone for sidewalk repairs and street widening.

Those numbers are for removals of three or more trees at a time and do not include instances where one or two trees are removed for repairs, which do not require a public hearing. They also do not include permits by developers to remove one or two street trees.

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