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What is an Urban Forest?

The urban forest includes all trees, shrubs and understory plants that grow on public and private property in the City of Pickering, as well as the soils that sustain them. A healthy and resilient urban forest provides many benefits to the community. Trees absorb carbon dioxide, improve air quality, moderate climate, help control erosion, and provide various recreational, health and social benefits. These benefits increase in time as trees grow larger.

What is an Urban Forest Strategy?

An Urban Forest Strategy (UFS) is a planning tool that allows municipalities to develop policies and techniques to protect and enhance the urban forest. Developing the strategy requires a practical understanding of the status of the current urban forest including the number, location and density of trees, their species, health, and age.

An UFS goes far beyond simply assessing the current tree canopy cover or a planting program. The foundation of an UFS is an understanding of what you have now and a vision for what you want it to be in the future.

What is the Status of Pickering's Urban Forest Strategy?

Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA) completed an Urban Forest Study for the City of Pickering in 2011. A random sampling of trees was taken at more than 200 plots in the urban area during summer 2009.

Trees in each plot over 2.5 cm (1") in diameter were noted along with its species, size and health. This information was sent to the Forest Service of the United States Department of Agriculture for an analysis of the current health of the City's urban forest and recommendations for managing and enhancing forest cover for a sustainable community.

View the 2012 Urban Forest Study

What is the City doing to promote tree cover?

Planting new trees:

  • coordinating a tree planting program that focuses on adding street trees and trees in parks, especially in and around children's play areas
  • establishing planting partnerships with local businesses and community partners

Preventing the loss of trees:

  • administering a Tree Protection By-law
  • working with TRCA and other partners to create a more diverse urban forest that will be more resilient to stressors such as pests, disease and climate change

Developing a Strategy:

  • developing an Urban Forest Strategy; once complete it will provide direction for more stringent tree protection guidelines, stewardship, monitoring and outreach programs

City Hall Park