SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) – Thousands of trees were uprooted and toppled over by the last two storms in San Francisco alone. That caused some damage, but it’s also a loss because of the benefits that trees bring to the environment.
A local nonprofit revealed that these storms tore up trees at an alarming rate. Members of the ‘Friends of the Urban Forest’ warn that the bigger trees that came down also equal the biggest loss because they provide the most benefits, such as storing carbon, and are least likely to be saved.
They estimate more than 2,000 trees were uprooted in the last month and a half. They also say trees are especially vulnerable now because of the saturated soil after years of drought.
There’s been a pledge by the City of San Francisco to plant trees, but the group says that program has been chronically underfunded and the urban forest is shrinking. Only 14% of San Francisco is covered with trees, which pales in comparison to Los Angeles.
“The city’s urban forestry plan, which was adopted in 2017, set a goal of planting 155,000 trees to more than double the existing number of trees in San Francisco’s streets. We were already failing to meet that goal, in fact, San Francisco’s urban forest was shrinking, meaning we’re already losing more trees a year than we are planting, and this loss from the most recent storms is going to be a huge setback to reaching that goal. Which is why we at Friends of the Urban Forest are really facing this moment with urgency,” said Brian Wiedenmeier, the executive director of Friends of the Urban Forest.
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The nonprofit is calling on volunteers to pitch in and help out with their replanting effort. You can sign up on their website HERE.
They’ll be outside the next few weekends in April planting more trees. In the meantime, the group worries about more extreme weather in the future due to climate change which will bring more of these problems with it.