Benefits of a healthy urban forest (Sept. 28, 2012 City of Toronto background document)

Benefits of a healthy urban forest

A previous blog post referred to a revised timeframe to achieve the City’s Tree Canopy Goals.

A background document, dated Sept. 28, 2012, related to the City’s urban forest goals, outlines the following benefits of a healthy urban forest:

Toronto’s urban forest is a vital City asset with an estimated structural value of $7 billion. The urban forest delivers the equivalent of at least $28.2 million in ecological services each year, some of which include:

  • equivalent value of $16.9 million per year in improved air quality by intercepting air pollutants;
  • equivalent value of $9.7 million per year in reduced heating and cooling energy consumption resulting in an estimated reduction in energy use for heating and cooling of residential buildings by 41,200 MWH;
  • storage of 1.1 million metric tons of carbon annually, or the equivalent of annual carbon emissions from 733,000 automobiles;
  • mitigating storm water runoff, which improves water quality and reduces the cost of storm water management, which is an important component of Toronto Water’s storm water management program.

Research has shown that trees also increase residential property values by up to 27% and increase tourism and investment in commercial areas.

Urban Forestry’s goal is to sustain and enhance the urban forest through maintenance and protection of existing resources, planting new trees, and continuing to develop planning policies and strategies to support the goal for the future.

This goal is supported by City Council through adoption of the City of Toronto’s Official Plan and Parks, Forestry and Recreation’s Strategic Staff report for action on Core Service Review – Revising the Timeframe to Achieve the City’s Tree Canopy Goals Plan entitled “Our Common Grounds”, which committed to ensuring that Toronto’s urban forest is maintained and enhanced in a state of good health.

The original Urban Forestry Service Plan, adopted by City Council in 2008, outlines activities to efficiently and effectively manage, protect and sustain Toronto’s urban forest; creating conditions that maximize the return on investments in trees and allow them to produce optimum benefits.

 

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