City Trees

September/October 2016

City Trees is a premier publication focused on urban + community forestry. In each issue, you’ll learn how to best manage the trees in your community and more!

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 17 of 39

Santa Monica, California—an idyllic community that has been voted among the top ten beach cities in the past—is famous for its beautiful weather (340 days of sunshine a year), iconic 3-mile (4.8 km) stretch of sandy beach, and thriving entertainment district that encompasses the shops and restau- rants of the Third Street Promenade and the throw-back carnival atmosphere of the historic Santa Monica Pier. Located just west of downtown Los Angeles, Santa Monica is a walk- and bike-friendly city of 8.3 square miles (21.5 sq km), its roads and pedestrian paths highly-trafficked by nearly 93,000 locals and millions of tourists a year. Despite its small size, over 29,000 trees line Santa Monica's streets, while more than 4,300 dot the landscape of its 29 parks. These 33,000 public trees are managed by just five in-house staff. A recent municipal forest assessment by the USDA concluded that the total annual ecosystem services deliv- ered by Santa Monica's street trees alone is over $5 million. Santa Monica is proud to have been a Tree City USA for the past 35 years, and more recently, to have become accredited by the SMA. In May the city's Urban Forester, Matthew Wells, was honored to be presented with a plaque by former Los Angeles Chief Forester and Past President of SMA, George Gonzalez, at a meeting of the city's Urban Forest Task Force. Can you tell us about your education and career background leading to your current position as Urban Forester for the City of Santa Monica? Matt Wells: I hold a Master's Degree in Arboriculture and Urban Forestry and a Bachelor's Degree in Landscape Management. I am a Chartered Arboriculturist through the UK's Institute of Chartered Foresters and an ISA Certified Arborist. Previous to my current position, I was the Director of Tree Preservation for NYC Parks, and prior to that I was a Tree Officer at the Central London Borough of Camden. I have presented papers and workshops at urban forestry conferences globally and I am a past Trustee of the Tree Research and Education Endowment (TREE) Fund. What is your focus as Santa Monica's Urban Forester? MW: The City adopted a comprehensive Urban Forest Master Plan in 2011 which describes guiding principles that establish an overall vision for the City's urban forest resource. My primary responsibility is to deliver this vision through the implementa- tion of a systematic, strategic, and sustainable urban forestry program. This requires careful planning, research, and analy- sis of relevant data against agreed metrics. Further, I report Sunny Santa Monica Now SMA-Accredited Photos Courtesy City of Santa Monica Santa Monica's coastal climate allows for a diverse treescape. 18 City Trees

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of City Trees - September/October 2016