Urban Canopy Deficit

As many have seen recently, our urban canopy has been dramatically reduced. Some of the trees are old and need to be downed for safety reasons. Others are diseased and have to be removed. Additionally one of the largest numbers of trees are being removed by landlords and homeowners. The result is reduced shade that is not only pleasant to walk under on a hot day but can also significantly reduce the temperature in surrounding areas, especially if it is large enough to cast a shadow on our roads. This reduction in “heat island effect” reduces our carbon footprint through lower A/C usage. 

Per contact via our council rep to the city arborist, when a tree is removed, a letter is left with the homeowner/landlord to contact them to have a replacement tree put in on the parkway easement. The land owner has to agree to water the tree for 3 years. It is no wonder that we see very few city-provided trees.

We are now working with the city council and NHCPG to request that the city arborist replace trees when damaged/dead are removed at time of removal. Additionally, we are asking the city to provide basic watering for new trees during the dryer months until they are established. Maybe a great item for the Urban Corps to help with. Finally, we are requesting that the city review areas on the easement that lack trees and add them.

Our own research has created a map of locations where trees are needed in the verges (strip between the sidewalk and street).

We need to have shade equity with more affluent neighborhoods in the city. Not only is it needed if the city wants to encourage people to walk and take public transit, it also reduces ambient temperatures, reduces cooling costs for residents and reduces carbon footprint.

Please contact the Mayor and our Council President to request focus in our neighborhood and other needy communities citywide. 

Mayor Todd Gloria

City Administration Building
202 C Street, 11th Floor
San Diego, CA 92101

District 9 Council Sean Elo-Rivera

City Administration Building
202 C Street, 10th Floor
San Diego, CA 92101

References and Additional Reading