While San Francisco may be touted as one of the world’s “greenest” cities, it has one of the smallest tree canopies of any major U.S. city. But that’s soon to change; on Wednesday, January 15, the city will unveil its first phase of the Draft Urban Forest Plan in an open house at the LGBT Community Center.

The plan aims to boost San Francisco’s street tree population through a mix of policies and community-led strategies. Some of the strategies considered include: planting an additional 50,000 street trees, securing long-term funding for tree maintenance by Public Works and creating a public awareness campaign about the economic, environmental and social benefits provided by street trees.

“Street trees beautify San Francisco’s public realm, however, our urban forest is deteriorating as a result of inconsistent street tree maintenance,” said Supervisor Scott Wiener in the Draft Urban Forest Plan press release.

A lack of current public funding has caused a drastic reduction in tree maintenance across the city as well as the transfer of tree maintenance of thousands of trees to private property owners. The Draft Urban Forest Plan will attempt to reverse this and move maintenance of trees back into the hands of Public Works.

“The best way to maintain a healthy urban forest is for Public Works to care for all of the trees,” said San Francisco Public Works Director Mohammed Nuru in the press release.

Funded by a $250,000 grant from the State of California Strategic Growth Council’s Urban Greening Planning Program, the Urban Forest Plan is a collaborative with the Planning Department, Friends of the Urban Forest, the Urban Forestry Council and Public Works.

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