100,000 new trees to be planted across Vancouver by 2026

Apr 21 2023, 1:04 am

Even more trees will be planted across the City of Vancouver over the coming years, topping off on existing tree-planting efforts.

Next week, Vancouver Park Board commissioners are expected to approve a member motion calling on Park Board staff to create a strategy to plant 100,000 new trees by 2026.

This would be in addition to replacing aging and damaged trees, and the forthcoming work would be coordinated with City of Vancouver staff. The motion directs Park Board staff to return by early Summer 2023 with a plan.

This motion is being put forward by ABC Vancouver commissioner Marie-Claire Howard, and it fulfills a civic election campaign promise made by her party.

In her motion, she says, the elevated tree planting targets would help mitigate the expected tree canopy losses in Metro Vancouver’s urban areas over the coming years — a decrease of 28% due to population and development. The region has a goal of increasing the urban tree canopy cover from 32% today to 40% by 2050.

Since 2019, the canopy coverage within the City of Vancouver has been barely maintained, according to Howard.

The tree canopy is the area where leaves, branches, and stems cover the ground when viewed from above.

Some other specific directions include working with local First Nations to plant thousands of trees in Stanley Park, and prioritizing tree planting in areas known to be urban heat spots and where there has historically been less tree planting.

Most neighbourhoods in the eastern half of Vancouver have a canopy coverage of under 10%, according to the Park Board.

vancouver urban forest tree canopy

Vancouver Urban Forest Tree Canopy coverage. (Vancouver Park Board)

As well, the motion directs Park Board staff to develop a program to encourage the private dedication and corporate sponsorships of trees on sidewalks, boulevards, and parks.

While the Park Board is generally associated with its maintenance and operations of parks, beaches, and community and recreational facilities, it is also responsible for the planting and maintenance of the trees that line Vancouver’s streets.

In late 2020, the previous makeup of Park Board commissioners also approved a strategy to plant tens of thousands of additional trees on city streets, parks, and other public spaces over the coming decades — an effort to grow the tree canopy from 23% in 2020 to 30% by 2050.

This comes after the city reached its previous target of planting 150,000 additional trees by 2020, an initiative that began in 2011 under the previous Greenest City Action Plan (GCAP).

GCAP grew the tree canopy from 18% to 23%, now covering 26 sq km of the City of Vancouver’s land base of 115 sq km.

Kenneth ChanKenneth Chan

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