LA appoints city’s first forest officer

5th August 2019 Jonathan Andrews

The City of Los Angeles has named its first forest officer, a new post to oversee the city’s goal of planting 90,000 trees by 2021.

Rachel Malarich will lead efforts to manage and implement the urban forestry goals outlined in LA’s Green New Deal. The goals include increasing tree canopy by at least 50 percent by 2028 in areas with the least shade, which tend to be located in the city’s hottest, low-income communities.

“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,” said Eric Garcetti, the mayor, who created the post.

Malarich will be responsible for spearheading the development of a citywide urban forest management plan and ensuring all of the city’s departments and external partners use an integrated approach to achieve a shared vision for LA’s urban forest.

“Trees do more than contribute to the look and feel of our neighbourhoods–they are a key tool to protect vulnerable populations, improve public health, and enhance community well-being for all Angelenos,” said Malarich. “I am honoured to serve our great city under the mayor’s leadership to help manage and expand our urban forest and prepare Los Angeles to confront the rising crisis of climate change.”

Malarich has spent over 12 years working to increase tree canopy in urban areas throughout Southern California, devise strategic management plans to expand urban forests, and promote community engagement.

She spent over a decade with Tree People, where she served as the Director of Forestry for more than three years, and worked as the Assistant Director of Environmental Services for Koreatown Youth and Community Center. Malarich is a Certified Arborist and is Tree Risk Assessment Qualified by the International Society of Arboriculture.

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