Importance of Stewardship
Planting trees is important, but stewardship - the committment to ongoing, long term maintenance and care - determines the success of most efforts to improve our Urban Forest. More resources are beginning to be spent on tree planting, but are always adeqaute resources dedicated to proper aftercare and long term survival.
Did you know:
- Urban areas in Canada are on average, about 19% forested
- Some municipalities are now setting targets to reach 30 to 40% tree canopy
- A signficiant percentage of newly planted trees die within the first 2 years due to lack of simple, preventative care such as watering and protection from physical damage
- A tree does not reach its most productive stage of carbon storage until it is about 10 years old
- Street trees often suffer extreme urban stresses such as drought, nutrient-poor soils, confined space, lawn-mower damage, improper staking, conflicts with underground and overhead utilities, air pollution, salt damage and vandalism
- Approximately 80% of land in urban areas is privately owned meaning that a signficant proportion of the urban foret is rooted in private property
- There is a significant lack of protection for mature trees in urban areas
- There is growing interest in identifying and protecting heritage trees across the Province.
Studies are beginning to illustrate just how valuable our urban forests really are. A recent study undertaken by the City of Toronto, called “Every Tree Counts: A Portrait of Toronto’s Urban Forest” has determined the value of Ontario’s largest urban area’s forest space. This specific urban forest absorbs 31.6 million dollars worth of carbon and would cost approximately 7 billion dollars to replace. The incredible value of the urban forest is not only unique to Toronto, but other municipalities across the Province. Trees are one of the only assets our municipalities have that appreciate in value!
Neighbourhood tree inventories, conducted by communities across the province, including Elora and Peterborough, are revealing a number of different maintenance priorities that should be undertaken to help increase the health of this important resource.
The UFSN is an online network that provides ideas and resources for all of us working on community-based, urban forest issues in Ontario. Join us, share information about your efforts to care for the urban forest in your area and help us build the movement!