Implementing municipal tree planting: Los Angeles million-tree initiative

Environ Manage. 2010 Feb;45(2):227-38. doi: 10.1007/s00267-009-9412-7. Epub 2009 Dec 17.


Urban forests are increasingly being seen as an important infrastructure that can help cities remediate their environmental impacts. This work reports on the first steps in implementing a million tree program in Los Angeles and the ways such a biogenic-living-infrastructure has been approached. Numbers of studies have been done to quantify the benefits of urban forests, but little has been written on the process of implementing urban tree planting programs. The investigative methods were primarily qualitative, involving interviews, attending meetings and conducting literature reviews. Results indicate that multiple nonprofit and city agency programs are involved in planting and maintaining trees and this has required coordination among groups that here-to-fore were unaccustomed to having to collaborate. The main finding that emerge from this research is that the implementation of such a program in Los Angeles is more complicated than it may seem due to several interacting factors: the need to rely on multiple public and private organizations to put trees into the ground and to maintain them; coordination of these multiple efforts must be centralized, but requires a great deal of time and effort and maybe resisted by some of the partners; funding for planting and long term maintenance must be pieced together from multiple sources; acceptance of trees by residents varies by neighborhood as does tree canopy cover; appropriate nursery supply can be limited; the location of the program within the city administration is determined by who initiates the program.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Cities*
  • Forestry / organization & administration*
  • Los Angeles
  • Trees*