By SARAH SHMERLING | Editor-in-Chief
The Pacific Palisades Community Council welcomed Isabelle Duvivier of the Los Angeles Community Forest Advisory Committee at its March 25 virtual meeting to deliver updates about the committee’s work to guide and support policy to protect the urban canopy, as well as preserve protected trees.
CFAC operates with a mission to “achieve a healthy, safe and enduring Los Angeles community forest ecosystem for the enjoyment and well being of all,” according to its website.
Duvivier is an architect and volunteer committee member who represents Council District 11 on CFAC, nominated by City Council members and appointed by the mayor, and has been involved in the program for more than four years.
The committee, which was formed under the Department of Public Works, helps liaison between community members and the city to help shape policy around the urban canopy, which Duvivier shared is “highly stressed and in steep decline” due to things like “development, drought, invasive species and sidewalk repair programs.”
Duvivier explained that CFAC was “instrumental in getting the city to agree to do an inventory” of trees, which is the first it has done in a “long, long time.”
“It’s a really well done inventory and a program where you can go online and you can see the tree species, the size of the species, the condition of the species by each council district,” Duvivier explained.
Within CD 11, Venice is slated to have its inventory completed in July, and as of the time of the PPCC meeting, the Pacific Palisades inventory timeline remained unknown. Duvivier estimated that roughly one-tenth of the tree species in the city have so far been mapped.
CFAC also pushed to get a city forest officer, who helps coordinate different departments that deal with trees, and instigated the Dudek report, which marked the beginning of an urban forest management plan.
Duvivier shared that one of the reasons she attended the PPCC meeting was to request assistance in getting Councilmember Mike Bonin’s to appoint an alternate for her.
“I live in the flatlands of Venice and there’s a lot going on down here,” she explained. “There’s a lot of areas that are tree canopy deprived. You don’t suffer that. What we see in the hillside … region is large numbers of protected tree removals.”
Duvivier explained that the number of protected tree removals happening across the city is expanding and a lot of times, all it requires is someone to review a project and make “some very simple recommendations.” She explained this is not to stop projects from happening, but to help the city help itself to create policy that can protect some of these trees.
CFAC also recently wrote a letter to the Los Angeles Fire Department, encouraging the agency to add information about protected trees in its brush clearance literature.
The committee is also requesting the city of LA increase its tree budget from .25% to 1%—which Duvivier explained is what a typical budget looks like.
“In California, every $1 invested in a street tree returns almost $6 in benefit,” Duvivier added, referencing a study done in April 2016.
Before concluding her presentation, Duvivier encouraged Palisadians to register their gardens with the National Wildlife Federation to help the city of LA to become the “largest city in the country that has wildlife gardens within its boundaries.” In order to register, the garden must have food, water, cover, places to raise young and sustainable practices.
For more information for how to get involved with CFAC, call 213-978-0260. To register with the National Wildlife Federation, visit nwf.org.
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