If a tree falls in cyberspace, does it make a sound?

City Hall and the Urban Forest Master Plan Task Force are trying to make some noise with a new website dedicated to Santa Monica’s trees.

Located at the aptly-named url www.santamonicatrees.com, the site provides a central location for information about caring for and renewing Santa Monica’s urban forest. Future versions of the site will feature interactive tree maps and a photo gallery.

“We’re very excited about santamonicatrees.com. We envision it as an important tool for educating the public about the urban forest and engaging the community in the update of the Urban Forest Master Plan that’s now underway. A healthy urban forest is something the whole community can get behind,” said Barbara Stinchfield, director of Community & Cultural Services.

Urban forests provide environmental, health and economic benefits to their communities. The ongoing health and renewal of Santa Monica’s forest is guided by the Community Forest Management Plan 2000, adopted in 1999. A new long-range urban forest master plan is under development, overseen by a community-based Task Force appointed by the City Council. The Task Force meets at 6:30 p.m. on the fourth Wednesday of each month, with the next meeting scheduled for Sept. 29.

The urban forest portal is another step forward in updating the way City Hall manages its online presence, city officials said. A series of subject-based portals will provide quick and easy access to information without having to wade through the city department and division information.

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