Urban Forest Program

Welcome to the Los Angeles City Department of Recreation and Parks Urban Forestry page. The Los Angeles Recreation and Parks Department estimates that there are at least one million trees growing in the City's 15,000 acres of parkland, spread amongst developed urban parks and growing naturally in coastal and inland areas. This "Urban Forest" is a great asset to the City of Los Angeles. Forested urban parks are a functional and attractive environment for residents and visitors. Natural areas provide shelter for wildlife and offer an escape for park visitors into the semi-wilderness.

The Forestry Division of the Department of Recreation and Parks implements pruning techniques that prolong tree health and longevity. Special care is given to applying only pruning techniques that reduce the size of the crown, maintain structural integrity and the natural form of the tree, and delay the need for re-pruning. Crown cleaning, crown thinning and crown raising are the most common types of tree pruning in City parks. If crown reduction is necessary, branches are removed by thinning techniques. Heading and topping are destructive pruning techniques and are neither practiced nor accepted in Los Angeles City parks. Forestry staff is certified by the International Society of Arboriculture as Certified Arborists and Certified Tree Workers, which assures professional tree care in City parks.

The Forestry Division has developed a reforestation program for City parks and oversees proper tree selection which best reflects the relation of the trees to the existing watersheds within which parks are situated. The sustainability of a forest relies on rejuvenation processes that take place naturally in the wild forests. In a man-created silviculture, which reflects the majority of our city trees, it is necessary to develop a plan that will guarantee the continuity and revitalization of the existing tree groves. The program reforests City parks with young trees of wide diversity which guarantees continual tree replacement when tree needs to be removed as a part of natural successional processes. Park trees are significant components of the Los Angeles Basin ecosystem and great care is given to remnants of the original native plant life. In addition, historic and horticulturally significant trees are protected. The Recreation and Parks Tree Preservation Policy is the primary regulatory tool that gives direction for orderly protection of specified trees, maintains their value, and avoids significant negative impact to the ecosystem.

Staff from the Forestry Division is working currently on the tree inventory of city parks, and began recording many unique and significant heritage trees, which you can view on the heritage trees link. The inventory is being generated by using a Global Positioning System and Geographic Information System using ArcView maps.