Current Initiatives

Climate Ready Trees

Drs. Greg McPherson and Natalie van Doorn of the US Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Research Station are partnered with Dr. Alison Berry of UC Davis and her team to conduct a longitudinal study of resilience of urban tree species. This Climate Ready Trees study uses selected species anticipated to be suited for southern California’s future climate conditions. This study will inform improved species selection. Partners such as the Los Angeles Beautification Team and Los Angeles Recreation and Parks Department are helping to make this long term work possible by aiding planting and maintenance of the trees.

Los Angeles County Tree Canopy Viewer

The Angeles County Tree Canopy Viewer displays a high-resolution assessment of LA County’s existing and potential tree canopy cover. Fine scale 8-class land cover was combined with data from CalEnviroScreen, demographic, and urban heat data to assess existing conditions and identify potential priority areas where enhanced urban greening could contribute to climate resilience, environmental equity, and public health improvement. More detailed maps, including multiple land cover types, can be found from the Los Angeles County Tree Canopy Advanced Viewer. A Story Map is available for more information about this project. TreePeople and the Center for Urban Resilience (CURes) at Loyola Marymount University developed the viewer through a grant funded by US Forest Service and CALFIRE. The Consulting Group at SavATree and the University of Vermont Spatial Analysis Lab supported analysis of spatial distribution of green infrastructure in Los Angeles. The map viewers are developed by Dr. Shenyue Jia at the Center of Excellence in Earth Systems Modeling and Observations (CEESMO), Chapman University.

STEW MAP

In 2016, the LA Urban Center developed a research partnership with Loyola Marymount University’s Center for Urban Resilience to support the Los Angeles Stewardship Mapping and Assessment Project (LA STEW-MAP). Led by LMU research scientist Dr. Michele Romolini, LA STEW-MAP is part of a national research program that seeks to answer the questions: Which environmental stewardship groups are working across urban landscapes? Where, why, how, and to what effect? STEW-MAP defines a “stewardship group” as a civic organization or group that works to conserve, manage, monitor, advocate for, and/or educate the public about their local environments. Through a web-based organizational survey, researchers gather information on the characteristics of stewardship groups, the locations of their stewardship activities, and how they collaborate and share information through networks. LA STEW-MAP results will offer an improved understanding of where and how environmental stewardship organizations are working in Los Angeles. One applied goal of the project is to use the data to produce resources including maps and reports that can be used by stewardship organizations.

Inspiring Engagement: Identifying Tree Stewardship Best Practices in Environmental Justice Areas

Combatting climate change requires a broad defense that includes reducing greenhouse gases while building an arsenal of green infrastructure. Disadvantaged, environmental justice communities are often the most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. Building up environmental assets, like trees, will help these communities develop resilience in the face of a changing climate. Edith De Guzman (TreePeople), Jennifer Tabanico, (Action Research, Community-Based Social Marketing) and Lori Large (California State University, Fullerton) aim to identify tree stewardship best practices in environmental justice areas. The goal of the study is to analyze factors that inhibit disadvantaged, environmental justice communities from building, maintaining, or advancing their urban forests through community based social marketing strategies.

LA’s Urban Forest Since 1985, Understanding the Drought through Historical Satellite Data

The long-term viability of Los Angeles’ urban forests are at considerable risk due to the drought and irrigation policy decisions made in response water shortages. Drs. Andrew Marx and Brian Hilton of Claremont Graduate University with John Tagenberg of the Council for Watershed Heath are analyzing historical drought data to track, analyze, predict, and possibly influence the watering and irrigation policies toward urban forestry. Using historical imagery from U.S. Geological Survey developed specifically for climate change analysis, the researchers plan to create interactive “Story Maps” in ArcGIS to document the effect of drought on the 10 urban forests throughout a 30 year period.