Planning for the sustainable management of a community forest


LocationThousand Oaks, California, United States
ClientCity of Thousand Oaks
Size55 square miles

While residents and businesses are clearly proud of the City of Thousand Oaks’ two-decade-long “Tree City USA” designation, recent drought conditions created an urgent need for the City to decrease grassy landscapes and update maintenance practices. As a key part of these efforts, the City selected SWA, along with team partners Planning & Energy/Entitlement Services and Rincon, to update its 26-year-old Forestry Master Plan. The process involved community engagement, including the development of a comprehensive outreach booklet; City staff meetings; and research and analysis to develop plant palettes, planting guidelines, and maintenance recommendations that will help the City sustainably manage their community forest.

Through online surveys and community workshops, the team solicited residents’ input on the future of Thousand Oaks’ landscape character. SWA facilitated discussions about how to adapt, but also preserve, the city’s landscape identity. Elements include drought-tolerant species, increased habitat for butterfly/pollinator species, solar irrigation clocks, and a one-shrub-to-one-bubbler ratio to ease maintenance.

The updated Forestry Master Plan provides the City with a framework for selecting the right tree for the right place; incorporating more drought-tolerant and California native planting materials in public rights-of-way; and increasing the community forest’s resilience during times of drought and climate change.

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