Environmentalists: L.A. Can Beat the Heat with More Trees

A panel of researchers and environmentalists today pointed to the need for more trees in Los Angeles to provide relief to residents from increasing temperatures and lower rainfall in Southern California.

Environmentalists say Los Angeles needs more trees.
Environmentalists say Los Angeles needs more trees.

A panel of researchers and environmentalists today pointed to the need for more trees in Los Angeles to provide relief to residents from increasing temperatures and lower rainfall in Southern California.

The recommendation stems from the findings of Australian researcher Dr. Nigel Tapper of the Cooperative Research Centre for Water Sensitive Cities. He found that reducing heat through green infrastructure and landscaping can help reduce the risk of heat-related illnesses, such as heat stroke and pulmonary disease.

Tapper's study showed that besides disease, heat kills more people every year than any other natural element in Australia.

"If we can just drop the temperatures in our cities a degree or two, we can save lives at great rates," Tapper said. "... Part of that is about smart building, smart materials, but part of that is to return our landscape to a more natural landscape."

He said more trees -- that are climate appropriate -- and water can make a big difference in dry areas like Southern California.

"One of the things we've learned in Australia is exactly that," Tapper said. "We need to be finding ways of harvesting storm water, whatever water does fall ... keeping that and storing that and using that to keep trees alive during the summer, during the peak dry periods."

Andy Lipkis, founder and president of TreePeople, said he brought the Australian researcher to Los Angeles to discuss his work due to Southern California's dry and hot climate.

"As a community, we can begin to rethink the need for tree cover and how we are going to make it happen," Lipkis said.

He said some parts of Los Angeles have less than 5 percent of tree cover.

TreePeople volunteers plan to take large construction barriers that are normally filled with water and put them around dying trees to create a drip irrigation system to save them.

--City News Service

Zookeeper91326 March 26, 2014 at 02:44 PM
I thought we were having a water shortage/drought, environmentalists...? Will these proposed trees not need water?
Karen Pleines March 26, 2014 at 09:09 PM
I'm with you Zookeeper91326. The city cannot keep up with watering the trees around town already. These trees will also need trimming and with the city's current schedule of every 50 to 70 years per tree it doesn't make sense to plant more. So would the residents be the ones to receive the "free" trees and keep them watered and trimmed at our cost? I understand there are projects in the works to catch and retain rainwater runoff (if and when it does rain) but bringing it into our lawns and gardens can still be a long way away.
John jones March 26, 2014 at 11:27 PM
400,000 people die every year from Climate Change. I, myself, am suffering from early symptoms of Climate Change. More focus and money needs to be directed towards this important topic.
Scott Zwartz March 27, 2014 at 08:49 AM
The Garcetti Administration does not want any trees. It wants fewer trees in order to make Hollywood look more like Manhattan. There were three huge shade trees along Hollywood Boulevard, but one of Garcetti's CRA projects wanted to have signage splashed across the front of the mixed-use project. Thus, these mature trees were cut down so that the public could see the retail signage. The project has been open for a year without a single retail tenant and with no trees. Look at all the trees Garcetti planted at the Metro Apartments on the S/E corner of Hollywood and Western. It's the null set. If you want a tree in front of your house, you have to plant it yourself AND pay off Garcetti for the right to beautify the City. No tree may be planted without the property owner first paying Garcetti a permit fee, but if you contribute enough to Garcett's political campaigns, the city will come and cut down any trees in front of a retail establishment. Why is it that Garcetti gives $67 Million in tax dollars to Korean Airlines, but wants us to raise city taxes on ourselves by $4.5 BILLION?
Status Quo March 27, 2014 at 12:14 PM
'John Jones'... Bolderdash, without substantiation.


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