Urban forests moving forward
Regional Urban Forest History
The urban forests of British Columbia display a diversity of ecosystems. Ironically, the gigantic trees that B.C. is famous for were not always seen as a feature worth preserving; reportedly there were many public celebrations throughout the 1800’s in Vancouver for the large trees felled to make way for the expanding city. Early 20th century British Columbia placed the planting of street trees largely in the hands of the burgeoning parks departments. It was not until the 1990 Clouds of change report that the city began to implement a true urban forest program, leading to Vancouver’s Greenest City 2020 initiative. The same trend was followed in most other B.C. municipalities including Surrey and Victoria. Prince George, a northern community which expanded into natural forests of lodgepole pine, had to deal with mountain pine beetle which began killing trees in 2002. The 2003
Recently, there has been progress in advancing urban forests. By 1990, all of Canada was covered by one of five chapters of the International Society of Arboriculture. In 1992 the government created Tree Plan Canada/national Community Tree Foundation (now Tree Canada) to engage Canadians in the care of their urban forests. An early action was to organize the first Canadian Urban Forest Conference in Winnipeg in 1993. From 1994 to 1999 the University of Toronto maintained the Urban Forest Centre under its director, Dr. Andy Kenney. In 2000, “urban forestry” was defined the Ontario Professional Foresters Act. A key advance was the integration of urban forests in the fifth national forest strategy in 2003, leading to the formation of the Canadian Urban Forest Network (2004) and the Canadian Urban Forest Strategy (2008).