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Community Forest Management

An integral part of a well-planned, safe, and comfortable city is its community forest. In the urban environment, trees are vitally important to the well-being of the community. Trees provides such benefits as:

  • Shade and energy conservation
  • Habitat for wild animals
  • Improved air quality
  • Reduced soil erosion and runoff
  • Neighborhood beautification 
  • Increased property value

On Sept. 24, 2019, the Carlsbad City Council approved an update to the Community Forest Management Plan, a document that describes how the city cares for its existing trees and will increase its overall “forest canopy.”

The approved plan, which is available for review on the city’s website, not only describes how the city will care for its trees, but also provides a list of the species the city can plant in areas adjacent to public streets. The updated plan also sets a goal of increasing the overall number of trees on city owned or controlled properties, which will ultimately increase the capture of greenhouse gases.

The street tree species list includes species that are drought tolerant and species that offer habitat and environmental value. 

As part of the updated plan, the city has set a goal of planting two trees for every tree that needs to be removed. The updated plan also includes a goal of adding an average of 500 trees per year to city owned or controlled properties through 2025. 

The original plan was adopted by the city in 2003. Since then, the standards of tree care have evolved and research has highlighted the role trees play in the environment. 

The city currently maintains about 28,000 inventoried trees on city owned or controlled properties, including parks, street parkways, street medians and around city buildings. Included in the city’s tree inventory are trees with notable historic interest or of an unusual species or size, considered to be heritage specimens. The plan outlines special care to be given to those trees. 

A final piece of the plan is encouraging residents and businesses in Carlsbad to preserve trees on their properties and to plant new ones. The city hosts an annual Arbor Day tree-planting event to raise awareness of the important role trees play in Carlsbad. 

Next Steps

Staff will take steps to implement the updated plan, which include the recruitment of two part time staff and requesting proposals for contracted services to add and maintain additional trees.

More Information