Growth Rings

Raising urban forests in Portland & Sacramento

Posted on June 26, 2012 at 6:55 am

After visiting Portland and Sacramento, Michelle Werts of American Forests published this inspiring story “Raising Urban Forests“ on American Forests’ blog, “Loose Leafs.” Below are some excerpts from the story:

“As the old adage goes, it takes a village to raise a child. I don’t know how true this is for child rearing, but I do know it takes a village to raise a forest in a city. I’ve spent the last week in Sacramento, California, and Portland, Oregon, meeting with the dedicated men and women who help keep their cities’ urban forests in tip-top shape — and what a job that is. …

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Friendly canvassers from Portland's Bureau of Environmental Services who help homeowners choose trees from Friends of Trees to plant with their neighbors

“In Portland, growing trees isn’t as difficult as it is in Sacramento —  Portland gets plenty of rain to support lush greenery around the city. Portland’s issue, though, lies in the fact that the city is growing — as  are most urban centers in the U.S. And in Oregon, natural spaces around cities are protected by Urban Growth Boundaries (UGB), designed to keep urban sprawl within the urban space, protecting the landscape beyond the city. However, this also means that protecting trees from development within the UGB can be difficult.

“From Portland’s Bureau of Environmental Services to the Bureau of Transportation to the Portland Water Bureau to Parks and Recreation to the Bureau of Development, all five of these bureaus touch the city’s trees in some way. As a result, representatives from all five bureaus meet regularly to discuss all things tree-related. Add on nonprofit partner Friends of Trees, plus Portland’s tree-loving neighborhoods and citizens, and you have a pretty formidable team in place working to protect and expand Portland’s urban forest.

“All of the people I’ve spoken to this week have expressed their love of and passion for trees: They clean the air we breathe, filter the water we drink, provide shade on hot, summer days. Trees’ benefits know no bounds, which is why the work of our urban foresters, city arborists, tree-planting nonprofits and others need to be supported. Together, we can all make our cities greener and more beautiful.”

American Forests, the oldest national nonprofit conservation organization in the country, advocates for the protection and expansion of America’s forests. Since 1990, we have planted nearly 40 million trees. Our goal is to work with our partners to plant an additional 25-30 million trees in forest restoration projects during the next five years. We restore watersheds to help provide clean drinking water. We replant forests destroyed by human action and by natural disasters.

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