Monterey County reforestation

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Monterey County in California, U.S., has a commitment to its environment, and more specifically to its forestation, and offsetting the community's carbon footprint. To that end, a number of resources have been committed to preserving and improving this unique ecosystem and its reforestation.

LMP Class of 2008 Reforestation Project

Pine Forests on the Monterey Peninsula[edit]

A patchwork pine forests grow across the Monterey Peninsula in California, creating a rich green habitat that delights residents and visitors alike. Although the locally native Monterey Pine - Pinus radiata tree species is widely grown in landscapes and on plantations in the Western Hemisphere of Northern America, the native Monterey Pine ecosystem is one of the rarest forest ecosystems in the world. Only a few thousand acres of the endemic trees exist in four locations along the Pacific Ocean on the Central Coast of California. The Monterey Peninsula is home to the largest of these stands, but the trees there are threatened by impacts from development, non-native invasive species, and disease.[1]

The local Monterey pine forest provides numerous benefits to the region's economy, from its intrinsic beauty that attracts tourists, to recreational settings for residents and visitors, to valuable ecological services, such as watershed protection and enhanced air quality. However, except for a few small sites and the Point Lobos State Reserve, much of the remaining forest is not protected within conservation areas. According to The Monterey Pine Forest Watch, “Half of our native forest has already been removed” and “Much of the remaining forest is in private hands and subject to development.”[2]

Urban Forestry[edit]

Even sites that are protected from tree removal, such as Veteran's Memorial Park, have been impacted by human activities and tree diseases, such as pine pitch canker. According to Robert Reid, the head of the City of Monterey's Urban Forestry program, “Since the disease was first discovered in 1986, hundreds of pines of all ages have died and their loss has had a noticeable impact on the forested areas and landscapes of the Peninsula.”[3] In the Spring 2007 issue of City Focus, he describes how scientists have been unable to find a cure or stop the spread of the pitch canker fungus: “The infection causes pines to ooze sap, which results in greater susceptibility to attack from destructive pine bark beetles.” The fungus is spread as beetles move from tree to tree.

The local city forestry departments have small staffs and are charged with the responsibility of caring for large areas of public lands. In addition, city arborists are called upon to advise on property issues, construction impacts and risk assessment. The City of Monterey itself maintains more than 19,000 trees, in parks and along streets, and about 300 acres (1.2 km2) of Monterey Pine forest. Monterey currently spends nearly $1 million annually on its urban forestry program, or about $33 per citizen. Carmel spends about $450,000, which with its smaller population translates to about $112 per citizen. An active volunteer group, Friends of Carmel Forest, supports Carmel's tree planting, surveying and education activities. Carmel's City Council also recently voted to approve a contract with a renowned tree care specialist, Barry Coates, to provide a study of Carmel's forest. The Council also approved spending up to $50,000 to implement changes recommended by the forest study.[1]

In the City of Monterey, crews trim an average of more than 1,800 trees and remove 150 annually. In 2005, a total of 338 trees were planted or replaced on City property, and 400 native tree seedlings were donated for planting on private property. In addition, the City of Monterey Urban Forestry Section provides tree maintenance services to the Presidio and Naval Postgraduate School. Given the tremendous workload and the importance of the local forests, volunteer groups such as Leadership Monterey Peninsula are critical partners in maintaining and improving the region's quality of life.[1]

Individual City Information[edit]

Polled in 2007/8 by the Leadership Monterey Peninsula Reforestation Group, the following is a breakdown of the cities in Monterey County, and their reforestation efforts.

City of Monterey[edit]

Current Forestation Activities:
As of 2008, the City of Monterey has 9 employees in the Urban Forestry Department. The City of Monterey works with various volunteer groups to plant trees in high-needs areas; there is also a Neighborhood Improvement Program (NIP) in which residents can request that trees be planted in certain residential areas, such as along the side walks. Their budget for tree-planting and maintenance in your city was $1 million, including payroll for 9 staff in 2008. This funding comes from taxes and periodic grants; maintenance through the urban forestry dept. and volunteers. Historical efforts for this department included spring 2003 stats: 768 on city property, 1500 seedlings donated for planting on private property; average number of trees is 300-500 annually. Other that have assisted in reforestation efforts include Leadership Monterey Peninsula, Boy Scouts of America, and schools that have periodically assisted with tree planting projects, as well as Volunteer Gardener Program – this group tends to do more ornamentals and flowers for the city and Monterey Green Action (Yahoo groups) – has volunteers available.

City of Carmel[edit]

Current Forestation Activities:
Carmel's Department of Forest and Beach is responsible for the maintenance of and improvements to the urban forest. The majority of their time is spent pruning, planting, watering, treating insects, and removing dead trees. The city's annual budget for tree-planting and maintenance is $458,000 including beach maintenance and all Forest and Beach Departmental services. This department, encompassing three employees, takes care of all the arboricultural needs of over 13,000 trees growing on public property.

City of Marina[edit]

Current Forestation Activities:
Marina has been named a "Tree City USA" community by the Arbor Day Foundation.
Had to meet four standards to get this designation:
1) has a tree board or department
2) has a community tree ordinance
3) has a community forestry program w/ an annual budget of at least $2 per capita (budget is $50,554.36; population is 18,824)
4) has an Arbor Day Observance and Proclamation (Dec. 17, 2007)

The tree committee has recently been reorganized; it is now a subcommittee of the planning commission. Tree planting activities are now done by a non-profit: "Marina Tree and Garden Club". Their mission includes "Improve the streets and public areas of the city of Marina by planting and cultivating trees and gardens therein"

The city does not have an arborist or a tree-planting program.

City of Seaside[edit]

Current Forestation Activities:
No formal reforestation program. Parks and Recreation Dept has an annual budget of approximately $150,000, and did plant 50+ trees in 2007. A limited number of trees are taken care (watered) of by the city parks department.

There is an established relationship with their neighborhood associations to assist with planting of trees within Seaside.

City of Del Rey Oaks[edit]

Current Forestation Activities: Currently looking for Oak tree donations

City of Pacific Grove[edit]

Current Forestation Activities:
Pacific Grove's tree planting program is called "Trees for Pacific Grove", a public private partnership with this non-profit. In 2007, Trees for PG raised over $10,000 through sponsorships. Individuals can become a Seedling Sponsor for $75 or a Sapling Sponsor for $250. During the same time period, Pacific Grove also planted over 1,000 trees and gave away another 500 native trees to local residents to plant on their own property.
Sustainable Pacific Grove is another organization interested in tree planting in PG.

City of Sand City[edit]

City of Salinas[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Leadership Monterey Peninsula Class Projects, "Small-Scale Reforestation in an Urban Forest"
  2. ^ “Our Monterey Pine Forest: A Forest Under Siege,” pg. 3, The Monterey Pine Forest Watch.
  3. ^ “Monterey Pines Survival,” Robert Reid, City Focus, Volume XXII, Number 1, Spring 2007, p. 5. Archived 2008-12-03 at the Wayback Machine