Why an urban forest?

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The City of Vancouver is setting ambitious targets in the Greenest City Action Plan to reduce the causes of climate change. From establishing new building codes that require more efficient use of energy in building to more and better infrastructure to encourage more active forms of transportation. There are many measures that local government can take to reduce Green House Gases (GHG). You can read the whole plan here

With regards to trees the city is planning on planting 150,000 more trees by 2020. This possibly could be the most simple thing that the city could do, but have the most impact in terms mitigating the affects of climate change. Simply, trees sequester C02 and produce oxygen.

The VPB has developed and “urban forest strategy”
From the Vancouver Parks Website:

To date, the objectives of the new strategy are to:

• Further develop our plan to plant 150,000 trees by 2020 and increase Vancouver’s tree canopy cover
• Ensure new trees are planted strategically across the city
• Update management plans, policies, and practices to address emerging dimensions such as climate change
• Address the whole urban forest life cycle: planting, maintenance, protection, removal, re-use
• Create an integrated urban forest inventory system
• Develop strategies for ongoing public engagement and connections to stewardship programs
Tree Canada

Tree Canada has embarked on a campaign to raise enough funds to plant 10, 000 trees by earth day on April 22, 2014.

From Tree Canada’s website: Here’s what 10,000 trees can do:

• Sequester about 5,775 tonnes of CO2, or
• Offset the carbon produced by about 1,700 mid-size cars in a year – or more than 25 million kilometres of road travel, or
• Remove the equivalent carbon of 1,925 round-trip flights between Vancouver, B.C. and Melbourne, Australia

The city of Vancouver has partner with a NGO to help enough residents to plant more trees on private land. Tree Keeps are offering trees for $10 and also providing training on how to plant a tree. There have a very informative website with a lot cool facts about trees and one can view it here

A huge area where the city could make gains on reducing GHG is where road space and reallocated for people away from cars and also increase tree planting in these areas. The West End is full of little pocket that were once road space for cars that now have trees planted in them. Also I am sure a systematic study of parks and green space in Vancouver would open up many more areas to take up asphalt use by roads and parking that could provide areas for more tree planting and habitat restoration.

In fact in Stanley Park Ecolocal Plan, Pipeline Road in Stanley Park has be identified as a redundant road that is not necessary for transportation needs in the park and should be taken up and the habitat restored. You can read more of the plan here

Roads and parking spots are a from of “induced driving”, which means that if you build them cars will populated them. If you don’t build roads change them traffic will disappear. Any opportunity where the city can reduce car traffic and plant trees is going to have a huge impact on the livability of the city and also reduce GHG and mitigate the affects of climate change.

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