On October 19, 2017, Earth Team board member and retired UC Berkeley professor Joe McBride came into RHS’s weekly meeting to teach our interns what urban forestry is and its benefits.
Interns learned that urban forestry is the management and care of trees in urban settings with the intent of improving urban environments. There is a lot of work that goes into managing an urban forest and such management is provided by a number of sources including city and utility foresters and arborists, policymakers, city planners, and community volunteers. Tree management in cities has different challenges than out in the forests. Unique challenges include limited space for roots or canopies, poor soil quality, damage to trees by citizens, and costs of labor. These are only a few of the considerations necessary when planning and managing urban forests.
Having a well maintained urban forests has a plethora of benefits! One important benefit is the way trees can influence a more moderate micro-climate; trees provide shade/cooling of buildings and roads, absorb sunlight, cool the air, and can reduce wind speed. This can make a city more comfortable, especially considering the way climate is changing. Other environmental benefits include increased biodiversity, better air quality, and absorption of rain water (which can help with flooding issues).
Urban forests can also provide economic and social benefits. Well landscaped business districts encourage more customers and can increase employee productivity, retention, and job satisfaction. Studies have also shown that more trees correlates with less crime and increased quality of life and happiness.
After describing all the juicy details about urban forestry, Joe also introduced the interns to the proper way to plant a tree in preparation for our first tree planting event of the school year at Wanlass Park in San Pablo. The students learned a lot from Joe and were grateful to listen to his wise and knowledgeable words! A big thank you from Richmond High Interns!
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