The City is developing an urban forest strategy for Vancouver, which will provide tools for growing and maintaining a healthy, resilient urban forest for future generations.
Vancouver’s urban forest includes every tree in our city – on streets, in parks, public spaces, and back yards. Our urban forest plays important environmental and social roles: it cleans the air, absorbs rainwater, provides bird habitat, and improves our health and well-being.
We recognize there are competing values and objectives in dealing with trees. The new strategy will provide a clear and balanced approach to protecting and expanding the urban forest in our city.
April 16, 2014 – Council voted to approve the Urban Forest Strategy, which includes an update to the Protection of Trees Byalw. Review the strategy to learn how we plan to protect, plant, and manage Vancouver's urban forest.
Action item 1: Repeal of Section 4.5 of the Protection of Trees Bylaw policy report
Policy report (116 KB)
Urban Forest Action Plan and protection of mature trees:
To date, the objectives of the new strategy are to:
We will achieve the objectives of the Urban Forest Strategy through:
Opportunities for engagement and collaboration on the strategy will be developed with stakeholders, businesses, other governments, urban forest experts, stewardship groups, and residents. We want to organize a city-wide conversation on how everyone can help us reach our goals.
The Urban Forest Strategy started in 2011 as a priority item under the Greenest City 2020 Action Plan. The strategy was supported through motions approved by the Park Board and Council in 2012.
The City currently has plans, bylaws, and policies governing trees across different departments. The City and Park Board have identified a need for a dedicated and long term approach to sustain our urban forest, and to align with emerging trends and best practices.
While Vancouver boasts a spectacular urban forest, research commissioned by the Park Board shows that our urban forest is shrinking – even though we’ve planted thousands of trees in recent years on City boulevards, streets, and parks. Private property is the area with the most dramatic loss of trees, through the unintended consequences of allowed tree removal.
When the number of trees diminishes, so do the benefits these trees provide. Our study found that 18% of Vancouver is covered by tree canopy compared to 22.5% nearly twenty years ago. These findings prompted our immediate action to address the loss of urban forest and to protect healthy trees.
Action #1 in the Urban Forest Strategy is an amendment to the Protection of Trees Bylaw that currently permits the removal of one tree per year from private property. The amendment will help stop unnecessary removal of healthy and mature trees on private property.
Greenest City is a bold initiative that addresses Vancouver's environmental challenges.
Preserves, protects, and strengthens our urban forest, while permitting property owners to remove trees for property maintenance and development.