Guest Commentary: Tree Davis Comments on Commissions

(Editor’s note: Comments delivered by Tree Davis’ Executive Director to the Davis City Council regarding the re-alignment of City Commissions – January 30, 2024

By Greg McPherson

The proposal to amend the City’s Commission structure is a weighty issue, and we at Tree Davis feel that it would be a disservice to over half a century of effort from those that have served as Tree Commission Members to make this decision so quickly. To make such a decision with so little time to react for stakeholders like us and so many folks that have committed so much time is disappointing.

An extensive, healthy, and resilient urban forest is more important now than ever due to climate change stressors like excessive heat and drought. At the same time, these impacts pose new threats to the existing urban forest. Proactive planning and management is needed now to transition to the urban forest of the future, one that will be sustainable in 50 years. What would be the guiding principles of the newly formed commission that combines the Tree Commission and Natural Resources? How would the newly proposed Tree Removal Committee interact with the City, and how would people be appointed to it?

Merging the Tree Commission and Natural Resources Commission will expand the scope of inquiry to include all kinds of open space, wildlife, soil health, pest management, climate adaptation, etc. This may be beneficial by providing opportunities for more holistic and integrative planning approaches. But it may be detrimental if it dilutes the commission’s focus on developing policies, standards, and plans for guiding the transition to a more resilient urban forest.

As always, Tree Davis stands in service to the City, but we are disappointed that we were not looped in earlier to this change. We request that a final vote on this topic be deferred so that we can provide input on the most effective ways to use local expertise. We appreciate the benefits of streamlining city governance and reining in demands on city staff. But given the urgent threats posed to our urban forest and the long-term adverse consequences of inaction, it is important to ensure that the focus on urban forestry isn’t watered down with this change. But we remain open to discussion if there is a governance structure that will accelerate Davis’ transition to a more resilient urban forest.

We stand strongly in the belief that Davis is uniquely positioned to offer its residents and stakeholders the best urban forest possible, which will combat and alleviate many of the impacts coming our way due to climate change, but any changes to the manner with which the urban forest is supported need to come from a place of complete confidence rather than expediency.

About The Author

Disclaimer: the views expressed by guest writers are strictly those of the author and may not reflect the views of the Vanguard, its editor, or its editorial board.

Related posts

Leave a Reply

X Close

Newsletter Sign-Up

X Close

Monthly Subscriber Sign-Up

Enter the maximum amount you want to pay each month
Sign up for