Urban Forest Management Strategy
White City’s “urban forest” makes the community special and a place worth living. An urban forest encompasses all the trees that grow within the town, on both public and private property. Cities and towns around the world are working to grow their urban forest by expanding the canopy cover, which means more of the community is shaded by trees. It is well known that urban forests help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, filter and hold storm water, clean air and alleviate smoke from forest and grass fires and numerous other environmental benefits. White City is looking to both increase the canopy cover and the quality of the existing trees in the town.
White City has contracted Davey Resource Group (DRG) to develop plans to protect and enhance our existing trees and plant even more. We would like to see how the community views trees and the ecosystem components around an urban forest. The information gathered will be anonymous and used to help guide the management plan in a direction that best increases the environmental benefits of the urban forest as well as aligns with the goals and views of the community.
The Town of White City’s urban forest is a valuable asset that requires sustained planning, planting, protection, maintenance and long-term care. The Town recognizes the urban forest as a living utility, similar to roads, water systems and other necessities of an urban environment. Like other municipal utilities, the urban forest should have proper development and management plans to ensure the longevity of this important utility.
Given the need for a proper management plan, along with the presence of an aging tree population, the Town is pursuing a comprehensive strategy that will ensure the best use of available resources and optimize the benefits of this valuable urban forest.
What is the urban forest?
An urban forest includes all of the publicly and privately owned trees and supporting vegetation in an urban area. This includes individual trees and groups of trees which are located in natural areas, parks, yards, along streets and in commercial areas. Elements such as plants, water, soil, organisms and wildlife are also part of the urban forest. Each of these elements, in addition to people and the built environment, have an influence on the health of the urban forest.
What are the benefits of the urban forest?
The Urban Forest Management Strategy
The Urban Forest Management Strategy will provide the Town with detailed information about its’ street and park trees and the publicly and privately owned natural areas. Management goals, action and tools ranging from best management practices and standards for tree care, promoting conservation of existing tree resources, potential heritage significant trees to enhancing canopy cover in the community and encouraging good tree management on private property are to be included in the plan.
Why is a Strategy Needed
We all know that trees are important. Trees are the single solution to many of our challenges, especially in a changing climate. Trees are often called “green infrastructure” because they provide many valuable ecosystem services. These services include improving air and water quality, controlling floods, beautifying neighbourhoods, reducing energy use, providing habitat for wildlife, and providing recreation opportunities.
However, pressures on trees are increasing, due to pests and diseases, drought and severe weather from climate change, development, and invasive species.
Trees live a long time and need to be carefully planned for and managed. That is why White City needs a comprehensive plan for its urban forest.
What Can You Do?
As a resident, you can assist in the management of our urban forest by ensuring you care for the trees on your private property. Beyond this, it’s important to maintain awareness of the trees around your property and assist in watering or caring for trees if you notice the tree is stressed or in need of some extra attention.
Further information and community engagement on this project will take place in the coming months as we work through the development of the Urban Forest Management Strategy.