New urban forest officer named to manage canopy: ‘City is home to the nation’s largest urban forest’

| August 29, 2019 | 0 Comments

ARBORIST Rachel Malarich was appointed new urban forest officer by Mayor Garcetti (right).

It’s official, Los Angeles has a City Forest Officer. Rachel Malarich was appointed last month by Mayor Eric Garcetti to the new post, which was created to oversee the growth of Los Angeles’ urban forest and help the city reach its goal to plant 90,000 trees by 2021.

“Rachel has the vision, experience and expertise necessary to lead the work of lining our streets with more trees and building a greener tomorrow,” said Mayor Garcetti. “Every tree we plant can help stem the tide of the climate crisis, and when we expand our urban forest, we can sow the seeds of a healthier, more sustainable future for communities across our city.”

The post, within the Board of Public Works, was created to help implement the urban forestry goals outlined in the city’s Green New Deal. These goals include increasing the city’s tree canopy by at least 50 percent by 2028 in areas with the least shade, which tend to be the city’s hottest, low-income communities.

Malarich will be responsible for spearheading the development of a citywide Urban Forest Management Plan and ensuring that all of the city’s departments and external partners use an integrated approach to achieve a shared vision for an urban forest.

A certified arborist, Malarich worked more than a decade with Tree People, where she served as director of forestry for more than three years. Prior to that she served as the assistant director of environmental services for Koreatown Youth and Community Center.

Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council Sustainability Chair Julie Stromberg told the Chronicle that the creation of this position is a testament to the city’s commitment to improving our urban forest.

“Los Angeles is home to the nation’s largest urban forest,” explained Stromberg. “Unfortunately, our urban forest is in a critical state due to recent stressors, such as climate change, drought and pests. However, the city has recently begun to acknowledge the importance of its urban forest and implementing measures to address this crisis.”

Stromberg said that she envisions the new officer to be an indispensable factor in future efforts to regenerate, expand and revitalize our urban forest, which should include protecting mature street trees throughout Greater Wilshire, including on Larchmont Boulevard.

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Category: People

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