Ur­ban forests mov­ing for­ward

Alberta Gardener Magazine - - News -

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).

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