Download Full Text (7.3 MB)
The Loyola Marymount University Center for Urban Resilience, TreePeople, and the Gateway Cities Council of Governments partnered to conduct tree canopy prioritization in the City of Paramount. This process utilized high resolution, high accuracy tree canopy data as a foundation to engage the public in identifying their priorities for tree planting in the city. Analysis of tree canopy data showed that the City of Paramount has 15% existing tree canopy cover. The analyses also found that Paramount has great opportunity to increase its tree canopy, with 45% of the land area of the city shown to be Possible Tree Canopy. However, 32% of the possible area is in places with impervious surfaces, such as concrete or asphalt, that would require modification to be a good place for trees.
The project partners held a series of planning meetings with the City of Paramount and conducted multiple forms of outreach to engage community participation in a virtual “tree summit,” which took place on June 10, 2021. Participants were presented with the numerous ways that their city could benefit from increased tree canopy, engaged in a discussion and several interactive activities about their personal experiences and values around trees, and were invited to take a survey to choose their top ten priorities for tree planting.
There were 37 surveys collected, with the majority (73%) of respondents indicating that they were residents of Paramount and a smaller number (39%) indicating that they work or study in Paramount. Respondents had the opportunity to vote to prioritize 20 specific tree benefits across eight categories. Participants identified “Improve Air Quality and Reduce Noise,” “Beautify Neighborhoods,” and “Increase Equity for Residents” as their top priority categories for tree planting. Among the specific benefits, the highest priorities were Air Quality, Low Tree Canopy, Park Improvement, Heat, and Toxic Release Sites. Each of the benefits voted on by participants was associated with a spatial variable (e.g., “Heat” was associated with high-resolution surface temperature data available through NASA).
Using the results from the survey, priority weightings were calculated for each spatial variable at the parcel level. These rankings were mapped to provide a visual of where participants’ combined priorities are located. The results revealed that the highest tree planting priority areas for Paramount were in the the central eastern, southeastern, and northwestern parts of the city. Many of these areas border the I-710 or I-105 freeways, reflecting priorities to improve air quality and reduce noise. The lowest priority areas were mostly located in the central southern part of the city. In addition to the maps, tables were produced to provide rankings for each individual parcel in the Possible Tree Canopy boundaries. This dataset includes a comprehensive listing of over 7,000 parcels in the City of Paramount, along with their priority score and percent of possible area for increasing tree canopy.
The survey also asked participants about their demographics and their perceptions of tree planting and care in Paramount. Responses to the demographics questions showed that some groups were not represented or under-represented in the survey results. For the perceptions questions, there were 90% who agreed that planting more trees is a priority, though 60% believed there are barriers to planting and 92% recognized that there are barriers to taking care of the trees in Paramount; in particular, Land Ownership, Land Availability and Water-related barriers.
This project can help guide the City of Paramount in future urban forestry strategies. The City may look to focus their tree planting efforts in high priority locations that also rank high on the Possible Tree Canopy - Vegetated scale. The City may also consider educational campaigns and incentives to reach out to specific communities and to increase tree canopy on private lands. Finally, the City may wish to pursue funding programs to help replace some of the impervious surfaces with tree canopy.
Romolini, Michele, "City of Paramount Tree Canopy Prioritization" (2021). Center for Urban Resilience Reports. 9.