The City of Santa Monica’s urban forestry program became the ninth program in the United States to receive accreditation by the Society of Municipal Arborists (SMA).
SMA accreditation is the highest honor for municipal urban forestry programs, according to the City.
A professional affiliate of the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA), SMA rewards high-level professional standards in tree care by formally recognizing urban forestry programs for implementing excellent and comprehensive management practices.
To qualify for this distinction, an urban forestry program must have an ISA certified arborist on staff, an approved urban forest master plan, a Tree City USA growth award, show private contract preference for Tree Care Industry Association accredited tree care companies, adhere to the American National Standards Institute for safety and performance, and follow the SMA’s Code of Ethics.
SMA President Jeremy Barrick congratulated the City of Santa Monica’s urban forestry staff, led by Urban Forester Matthew Wells, for their outstanding efforts in the field of urban forestry. SMA will further recognize the City of Santa Monica by presenting a plaque at an upcoming meeting of Santa Monica’s Urban Forest Task Force in May. An article will also be published in the SMA online magazine City Trees.
“SMA accreditation demonstrates the City’s commitment to urban forestry excellence,” said Wells. “The program will continue to strive to maximize the urban forest resource as an essential tool of wellness and sustainability in Santa Monica.”
This year marks the 35th year that Santa Monica has been a Tree City USA, which is a certification awarded by the National Arbor Day Foundation.
A healthy urban forest provides many benefits for cities, including moderation of air and water pollution, reduction of heating and cooling costs, enhancement of property values, improved wildlife habitat, and mitigation of overall urban environmental impact. Furthermore, research has shown that city trees can improve mental health, worker productivity and children’s school performance, and reduce crime rates.
Santa Monica’s urban forest has over 33,000 trees on public property, including streets, parks and open space. A recent assessment by the U.S. Department of Agriculture calculated that the annual environmental benefits generated by Santa Monica’s street trees alone have a value of over $5 million.
For more information on Santa Monica’s urban forest, visit www.santamonicatrees.com.