Trees and Urban Forestry
Urban Forestry Vision
Santa Barbara’s urban forest is healthy, diverse, and contributes to the community’s economic, environmental, and aesthetic vitality. It is valued and cared for by the City and its citizens and reflects our horticultural heritage.
Urban Forestry Mission
Preserve, protect, and enhance our trees; promote the benefits of trees; and foster a healthy and diverse urban forest.
Santa Barbara is fortunate to have been host to a hotbed of horticultural activity in the late 1800’s and into the 1900’s, which laid the groundwork for the unique and diverse urban forest now enjoyed by residents and visitors of the City. Santa Barbara is home to over 450 different species of trees including several specimens registered as the largest known of their species in the State of California.
Trees are vital components of the City’s green infrastructure. The Urban Forestry Program is responsible for managing the City’s trees with a goal to maximize benefits obtained. Trees help to define a community but also provide valuable ecosystem service benefits. Trees provide shade, which reduces the heat island effect and lowers surface temperatures. They sequester carbon and help to reduce other harmful atmospheric pollutants. Trees capture and store storm water, and reduce runoff flow to our oceans. Trees also serve as wildlife habitat that is needed now more than ever as natural habitats continue to be fragmented and urban areas expand.
Trees add significant beauty to our community but beyond that are an environmental and public health workhorse for our City. The Urban Forestry Program hopes that residents and visitors alike will take the time to appreciate their beauty and benefit while spending time in Santa Barbara.
The City of Santa Barbara Urban Forestry Program, part of the Parks Division, cares for approximately 35,000 street trees, more than 9,000 public trees in developed parks and landscaped areas of public facilities, and around 30,000 trees within City-managed open spaces. The Forestry team performs pruning, removal of dead and hazardous trees, planting and watering, and emergency operations.