Image of Tyler Kern, UC Davis' first campus forester, in the Arboretum.
Tyler Kern is UC Davis' first campus urban forester. He looks forward to working with campus experts and the community to co-create an iconic tree canopy for future Aggies to enjoy.

Tyler Kern: UC Davis' First Campus Urban Forester

Planning our Future Landscape

Learn more about the UC Davis Living Landscape Adaptation Plan (LLAP), a 70-year vision for transitioning our campus to climate-ready landscapes.

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The Campus Tree Renewal Program, a result of the LLAP, involves creating a legacy of campus trees for the next 100 years and beyond.

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For Tyler Kern, the first UC Davis campus urban forester and part of the Arboretum and Public Garden team, a day devoted to managing and maintaining sustainable urban forest is a day well spent. As a certified arborist, Kern has worked on numerous projects in his career aimed at supporting flourishing environments and is bringing his expertise back with him to Davis.  

Although he is new to the role of campus urban forester, Kern is no stranger to the Davis campus, having worked on campus as a tree trimmer three years ago. Since then, he worked as an arborist and urban forester for the City of Sacramento where he managed 24,000 trees while also curating planting plans in partnership with the public, taking into consideration what residents wanted to see.  

“I am so excited to be back and, in a way, it feels like coming home. I am looking forward to reconnecting with old friends and working together to build an even more sustainable and resilient urban canopy for the university and community,” said Kern.  

Expanding on his vision for campus, Kern hopes to foster an ever expanding urban forest built to endure future climate change while retaining as much of the current canopy and rich history as possible — a feat he plans to achieve by studying climate change models, locating additional areas to grow trees while simultaneously creating new and retaining established habitat.

His first project will be leading the Campus Tree Renewal Program — a result of our university's Living Landscape Adaptation Plan. A collaborative effort between the UC Davis Arboretum and Public Garden and Campus Planning, the program was developed to create a landscape of trees able to defend against the climate the scientific community projects for our region, enhance the capacity of our trees to better tolerate changing environmental conditions, and transform the landscape to one that is less vulnerable to predicted higher temperatures and lower precipitation.

As part of the Campus Tree Renewal Program, he will manage over 16,000 trees, create an urban forest master plan, and tailor a maintenance plan for newly planted, climate-appropriate trees as well as our historically significant, heritage trees. With a vision for the next 100 years, Tyler will work to prepare our trees for drought and climate change resistance while evaluating the long-term health of our aging urban forest.  

“UC Davis has such amazing horticulture and urban forestry departments as well as a community of environmentally minded citizens that I can’t wait to work with to shape what our campus forest can look like. And that’s really my favorite part: being able to physically see the trees and wildlife grow,” said Tyler. “I look forward to co-creating an iconic and beloved canopy that flows through campus for future Aggies to enjoy.”  

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