Regional Tree Canopy Cover and Impervious Surfaces, 2019
This report contains an analysis of the tree canopy cover and impervious surfaces in Metro Vancouver. Measuring tree canopy cover is a relatively simple way to determine the extent of the urban forest and the magnitude of services it provides. Impervious surfaces are associated with many of the negative effects of urbanization such as increased temperatures (the ‘Urban Heat Island’ effect) and flood risk, along with impacts to stream health through disrupted hydrological cycles and poor water quality.
Urban Forest Climate Adaptation Initiative
The term ‘urban forest’ describes trees in parks, around buildings, along streets and in backyards. In the Metro Vancouver region there are also remnant patches of forest. Urban trees face challenging growing environments – proximity to traffic, poor soils, confined roots, and increasing impacts from our changing climate such as summer drought, more intense storms, and greater susceptibility to damage from insects and diseases. Part of maintaining a healthy urban forest is to select and maintain trees for a changing climate.
The urban forest helps communities cope with climate change impacts and contributes to the health and well-being of residents. Trees cool streets and buildings, improve water quality, intercept rain water, store carbon and provide food and shelter for wildlife. The urban forest must be healthy to provide these benefits.
Metro Vancouver developed the Urban Forest Adaptation Initiative to assess the risks and predicted changes to the region’s urban forest. The initiative provides guidance to help practitioners manage urban forests in a changing climate today and to prepare for the future.