Stumped! How Did the Greenest City Lose 10% of its Tree Canopy in 10 Years?

It's Tuesday, and as has become a semi-regular habit while I work, I have the live stream of City Council going in the background. I'm listening for the decision on the DTES Local Area Plan, when General Manager of Parks and Recreation, Malcolm Bromley catches my attention with the statement that we've lost over 20% of our urban forset tree canopy in the last twenty years!

It's a pretty alarming statistic, even more concerning that those losses accelerated to 10% the last 8 years, most of which while under the auspices of being the "Greenest City"

Kudos to staff for addressing the issue of our urban forest. Their report reiterates some of the info any good tree hugger will be familiar with, including the important role trees play in mitigating pollution, CO2, rainwater runoff and nurturing health and urban wildlife. What was interesting to me was that certain councillors sought to downplay the role of development in loss of urban forest. I hope the rapid loss of urban forest, along with "exhibit A" (pictured right) might give pause to reconsider the role development plays in destruction of our tree canopy.

Healthy cherry blossom tree on Keefer Street makes way for new development hoarding
Pictured: Healthy cherry blossom tree on Keefer Street makes way for new development hoarding / click to enlarge


Here's a link to the City's Urban Forest Strategy, worth a read.