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Urban tree planting programs, function or fashion? Los Angeles and urban tree planting campaigns

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Abstract

Tree planting programs are being implemented in many US cities (most notably New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago) on the basis of the multiple environmental and health benefits they may provide. However, the magnitude and even the direction of the impacts of trees on specific urban environments have seldom been directly measured. In addition, there has been little research on the historical, cultural, political or institutional origins of such programs, or on their implementation process. Pending questions include the degree to which these programs are integrated in the existing frameworks of city government and infrastructure management, how they are paid for, and the kinds of collaborations between nonprofit organizations, the public, and public agencies at all levels they may require in order to succeed. This paper reports on an interdisciplinary research project examining the Million Tree Program of the City of Los Angeles.

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Notes

  1. Public lands in this period were being sold and/or provided to settlers to encourage economic development and settlement in the western US. While Yellowstone National Park had been created—carved out of the public domain to be preserved in perpetuity, as had Yosemite and a few other reserves—most of the land in the public domain was seen to be best utilized by private interests. The growing awareness of the relationship between urban water supply and forest management led President Harrison to begin to withdraw acreage from sale to ensure the preservation of forest ecosystem services.

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Acknowledgments

Financial support from NSF (NSF-HSD 0624342) and EPA (grant RD-83336401-0) is gratefully acknowledged. We would like to thank participants at the 2009 WEAI conference in Vancouver and at the 2009 RSAI conference in San Francisco for helpful suggestions. All remaining errors are the responsibility of the authors.

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Correspondence to Stephanie Pincetl.

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Pincetl, S., Gillespie, T., Pataki, D.E. et al. Urban tree planting programs, function or fashion? Los Angeles and urban tree planting campaigns. GeoJournal 78, 475–493 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10708-012-9446-x

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