Tree canopy City of Commerce
Our study found the City of Commerce to have some of the lowest tree canopy cover in LA County. The study’s spatial data were used as part of a public “tree summit” to guide participants through a process to prioritize tree planting locations.

Los Angeles Tree Canopy Assessment and Prioritization

This study used high-resolution imagery and LiDAR data to map the urban tree canopy for all of Los Angeles County, providing a parcel-level spatial understanding of the areas of existing tree canopy as well as possible (i.e. biophysically feasible) locations where the canopy can be expanded. Using the Census Block Group as its unit of analysis, the study found that canopy varied widely across the county, ranging from 1% to 80% cover. Areas the most in need of tree canopy were located in northern and southeast parts of the county. Read our full LA Tree Canopy Report (2016) here.

CURes partnered with the non-profit TreePeople, the University of Vermont Spatial Analysis Lab, and Savatree Consulting Group to produce the analysis, with funding from the US Forest Service and CAL FIRE. This work built on a previous CURes-led tree canopy assessment of the LA County coastal zone.

Read the press release about the tree canopy study.

Explore the tree canopy of LA County using our Tree Canopy Data Viewer

Community-Based Tree Prioritization

The data from the LA County assessment provides valuable information on the extent and location of our urban forest canopy, which can help guide decision-making. Along with collaborators, CURes has begun to conduct community-based tree canopy prioritizations in Southeast Los Angeles County. 

Ballona Wetlands Freshwater Marsh

In a multi-year study, CURes is working with the Ballona Wetlands Conservancy on research in the Ballona Wetlands Freshwater Marsh to better understand the habitat and how it integrates with urban life in Los Angeles. Topics of study include mosquito populations, hydrology, water quality, and vector control. CURes is also the convener of the Conservancy's Academic Science Advisory Committee (ASAC), which brings together wetlands experts from throughout California to provide scientific guidance on the challenges and opportunities facing a heavily managed urban freshwater marsh.

To learn more about wetlands, view our Wetlands Restoration Resources.

Native Gardens

The CURes team is working on planting and monitoring native garden projects in the Greater Los Angeles area by working with students at local schools to teach them about native and edible gardens, as well as their pollinators. As partners in Ballona Discovery Park, our staff helps manage and monitor the native and medicinal gardens.

Past Studies

Los Angeles Beautification Team Urban Forestry Research

As part of a CAL FIRE urban forestry grant, CURes worked with the Los Angeles Beautification Team (LABT) to monitor street trees planted to combat climate concerns in disadvantaged neighborhoods. In 2018-19 CURes measured the health of 375 trees in the San Fernando Valley. Read the CURes Blog for more information.

Colton Forest Inventory and Assessment

From 2016-17, CURes conducted a tree inventory, in association with Jack Sahl & Associates, of all the trees within the public domain of the City of Colton. This included trees in cemeteries, parks, schools, and major cross-streets throughout the city. Interdisciplinary student and staff teams gathered data on the size, distribution, age, health, and energy efficiency of over 8000 trees. Read more on the CURes blog.

Rain Gardens

CURes faculty fellow Dr. John Dorsey led teams of LMU students in monitoring the pollutant retention of storm water runoff in a Culver City rain garden. The goal of this project was to determine how natural infrastructure solutions can impact the amount of pollution entering into waterways and water systems.