Urban Forestry in Canada

Urban greening-related activities, such as street tree planting and maintenance, institutional greening, and park creation and management, have as long a history in Canada as the establishment of permanent settlements, such as cities, towns and villages. The loss of elms in urban areas due to the devastating impact of dutch elm disease prompted the importance of urban trees and their canopy. As a result, the term "Urban Forestry" was coined at the Faculty of Forestry, the University of Toronto by Dr Eric Jorgensen in 1965.

Over the years, Urban Forestry (UF) in Canada:
  • Has evolved and expanded.
  • Has been practiced, with different intensity, across small towns to large metropolitan areas.
  • Has been embedded in various municipal departments and is practiced under different names.
  • Includes a wide range of elements, from policies and by-laws, diverse management and stewardship activities to spatial planning, and conservation of urban forests.
  • Consists of diverse elements that are often hidden within other disciplines and municipal activities.

Despite the above public demand for more treed communities, and the growth in urban forestry in Canada over the last 60 years, it is difficult to grasp the full extent of urban forestry activities and visualize their extent across Canadian municipalities. Urban forestry includes a wide range of elements, from policies, regulations and by-laws to diverse management and stewardship activities. It can also include spatial and green systems design and various conservation efforts. However, these activities are often perceived in isolation and often not linked to urban forestry.
As a result, the extent and intensity of urban forestry activities across Canada‚Äôs urban municipalities is not known and they are larger than what is typically perceived.

This project aimed to capture and map urban forest activities and use that information to assess the state of urban forestry and stewardship activities across Canadian municipalities.

Click here to download the Information Flyer (PDF): Measuring Footprint of Urban Forestry in Canada

Project Summary Interactive Maps Resources and Links
Project Summary (PDF) Interactive Maps Resources & Links

The results of this project are presented in the following:

The project is led by Dr. Danijela Puric-Mladenovic, with support from Dr. Adrina C. Bardekjian, Tree Canada.

The project was funded by Mitacs and Tree Canada, which enabled Yuki Yung, a Master of Forest Conservation (MFC) student at the Faculty of Forestry, University of Toronto to become involved in this research and to further focus on tree protection in Ontario for her MFC capstone project.


Funding for this research was provided by Mitacs and Tree Canada. 

The development of interactive mapping was supported by Information and Communications Technology Council (ICTC)

Mitacs Tree Canada
 Mitacs Tree Canada Faculty of Forestry, University of Toronto

We would like to
acknowledge Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry for making the inital forest conservation by-laws data available to this project;

We would also like to state our deep appreciation and gratitude for the help provided by the following professionals and organizations:

  • Tree Canada, for making the State of Canada's Municipal Forests Survey conducted in 2014 available for this project
  • National Steering Committee of the Canadian Urban Forest Network
  • Michael Rosen, Tree Canada
  • Meagan Hanna, City of Montreal, for providing us with the information about urban forestry activities in Quebec
  • Kyla Maslaniec, Manitoba Sustainable Development, Province of Manitoba
  • Erin Gorby, City of Coquitlam, British Columbia
  • Heather Fraser, City of Moncton, New Brunswick
  • Ian Tucker, City of Calgary, Alberta
  • Robert Liveanu, City of West-mount, Quebec
  • Sherry Boerefyn, City of Edmonton, Alberta
  • Darren Platakis, Geospatial Niagara
  • Robert G. Cormier, R&B Cormier Inc.
  • Maria Al Zayat, Forest Conservation Science student at the University of Toronto for her initial data collection on by-laws and urban forests in Southern Ontario
  • Shannon MacDonald, for her help with GIS. 
  • Megan Trotman, for creating the Interactive Dashboard.

We extend our thanks to students Anne Blondin, Joe Renton, Kimberly Farias, and Laura Gerencser at Fleming College for their help in collecting the preliminary data about by-laws from the municipalities in Ontario as a "Credit for Product" project, January to April 2015, under the supervision of the Ontario Urban Forest Council.