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If L.A. loves its trees, it should stop developers from ripping out so many of them

If L.A. loves its trees, it should stop developers from ripping out so many of them
Ficus trees on Green Street in Pasadena. (Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: Thank you for the fine nod to Los Angeles’ trees and to the need to pay them homage through the city’s budget.

Still, there was a glaring omission: the regular practice of allowing tree removal when proposals come before the various government permitting entities.

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In early December, community groups successfully persuaded the West L.A. Area Planning Commission to overturn a city permit that would have destroyed 118 trees in the Del Rey neighborhood. Had there not also been a fragile wetland on the site, it’s possible that our appeal would have failed.

Trees are often eliminated because they are deemed “diseased.” While working to protect more than 1,000 trees at Mariners Village in a county unincorporated area of Marina del Rey, we learned from the president of a nearby homeowners association that when their trees are diseased, they don’t kill them, they nurse them back to health.

Using this approach would mean that many more trees would be able to provide the services your editorial rightly touts as important.

Marcia Hanscom, Playa del Rey

The writer is executive director of the Ballona Institute.

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To the editor: I am disappointed that the editorial made no mention of the concept of adding new trees and replacing failed trees with California native species and more specifically with drought-tolerant species native to our local climate.

These are species that evolved in and adapted to our semi-arid conditions. Moreover, they co-evolved with other plants and animals native to this region. As such, they provide environmental and ecological services that will have increasing importance in an ever more stressful climate.

Susan Klenner, Woodland Hills

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To the editor: Thank you for the editorial about the value of trees in Los Angeles, which help us survive those 115-degree summer days in the San Fernando Valley.

We must learn from other cities, like Seattle, that find ways to fix sidewalks without felling a full-grown tree. These cities employ actual experts and arborists who find healthy ways to trim sidewalk trees without promoting disease and early death.

The next time you are out walking, take a look at the trees in your neighborhood. The next time you go to a shopping center, take a look at the trees where you park. Do they look healthy to you? Can you picture your city with fewer trees?

We need to tell our City Council members and our mayor how important our urban forest is to us.

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Mary Montes, West Hills

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