Saving San Jose's Vanishing Tree Canopy

Trees are vanishing from the San Jose, California cityscape. The city has a plan to reverse the damage, but significant challenges stand in the way of progress.

January 12, 2022, 9:00 AM PST

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell


A view out over the city of San Jose, with downtown highrises in the background distance and smoggy air hanging overhead.

Sundry Photography / Shutterstock

Maggie Angst reports for The Mercury News on the declining state of the San Jose's tree canopy. Between 2008 and 2012, the city lost 1.8% of its trees.

"That percentage may seem small, but consider that it represents 1,728 acres of public and backyard trees, or the equivalent of 2.7 square miles, according to a recent analysis by the U.S. Forest Service," according to Angst.

With the loss, San Jose lags significantly behind other cities in the percentage of its city covered by shade, with only 13.5%. By comparison, 28% of Seattle is covered by trees, 27% of Boston, and 40% of Pittsburgh, according to numbers reported in the source article.

The city cannot lay blame for the decline of the city's tree canopy, according to San Jose City Arborist Russell Hansen, who is cited in the source article. "[P]otential explanations run the gamut from climate change to drought to removal for property development to poor maintenance to insufficient planting."

The dire statistics about the state of San Jose's tree canopy is reported in context of a new "Community Forest Management Plan" released by the city recently.

The source article, linked below, provides more details on the specific challenges addressed by the plan.

Tuesday, January 11, 2022 in The Mercury News

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