Urban Forest Plan

A plan to protect, manage, and grow the community's urban forest.

We're developing an Urban Forest Plan to better protect, manage and grow the urban forest to deliver long-term benefits to our community. 

  What is an urban forest? The urban forest is an interconnected ecosystem that includes all the trees and supporting vegetation in the community, and it is located on public and private property such as parks, front and back yards, streets, and in commercial and industrial areas. 

The Urban Forest Plan will provide a roadmap to protecting and enhancing our community’s tree canopy. The plan will include baseline information about trees in the City and describe the vision, goals and actions needed to protect and grow the urban forest over the next 30 years.

Thank you to everyone who took the time to share your feedback with us on the community’s urban forest. The first phase of community engagement has ended, and we’re reviewing all the input received from interested parties and the community. We look forward to sharing a summary of community feedback in the coming months. Project updates will continue to be shared onthis page and letstalk.cnv.org/UrbanForestPlan.

Get Involved

You're invited to get involved in helping to shape the Urban Forest Plan in two rounds of public engagement. In the first round, we want to learn more about what aspects of the urban forest are important to you and what could be improved.

During the second round of engagement, the community will be invited to provide feedback on the draft Urban Forest Plan. This second round of engagement is anticipated to take place in the fall of 2024.

About the Urban Forest

What is an urban forest?

The urban forest includes all of the trees and supporting vegetation in the community. This includes individual trees and groups of trees located on publicly and privately owned land, including in parks, backyards, streets, and in commercial and industrial zones. The urban forest is an interconnected ecosystem that also includes the soil, water, and air that nourishes trees.


Importance of the urban forest

Trees are living assets that play a critical role in a healthy and resilient City. The urban forest supports our community by reducing stormwater run-off, filtering air pollution, providing shade and temperature regulation, stabilizing soil, and capturing and storing carbon.

The urban forest also beautifies our community, connects people with nature, creates a sense of place, and improves mental and physical well-being, as well as promotes urban biodiversity by providing food and shelter for wildlife. 

About the Urban Forest Plan

Why develop an Urban Forest Plan?

The urban forest is an integral natural asset that provides many important benefits for the health and livability of our community, but it is facing multiple challenges that put its ability to provide benefits at risk.

Climate change is driving a loss of trees across the community. Long, hot, and dry summers stress trees, especially native conifers like western red cedar, western hemlock and Douglas fir. This stress is intensified by disease and pest outbreaks that negatively affect the health of trees, including the western hemlock looper moth. Development to accommodate a growing community and conflicting priorities for public land also put additional pressure on the urban forest.

To address these challenges while balancing other priorities, an integrated Urban Forest Plan that looks at the community holistically is required.


What will the Urban Forest Plan include? 

  1. Information on the current and historical state of the urban forest;
  2. A long-term vision for the urban forest; and
  3. Goals, strategies, and actions to grow the tree canopy cover and achieve our community vision.


The State of the Urban Forest Report

In 2023, we completed a State of the Urban Forest Report. This report provides important background information and benchmarking that will be used to develop measurable targets and objectives in the Urban Forest Plan.

Some of the key findings of this report include:

  • The City’s overall tree canopy cover is 20%, a figure that has been stable since 2007. Tree canopy is an important metric used by municipalities to assess the extent of the urban forest over time.
  • 65% of the tree canopy is on public land (38% in parks, 25% in streets and rights-of-way, and 2% on other City land)
  • 35% of the City’s tree canopy is on private land. The care of these trees is the responsibility of the property owners.
  • The City has a diversity of forest age. Approximately 43% of the City’s forest is mature (around 80 to 140 years old), 53% is young (around 20 to 80 years), and 3% is pole sapling (less than 20 years old).
  • Mature forests are found across several City parks – such as Mahon Park, Heywood Park, and Loutet Park – and contain the largest trees reaching up to 55 meters in height.


Urban Forest Plan Informational Webinar

Learn about the City’s Urban Forest Plan project from an urban forestry professional in our recorded webinar.

Project Timeline

The project will be completed in five phases - with opportunities for engagement throughout.

Phase 1 – Background research and analysis  | Fall 2022-2023 

Developed the State of the Urban Forest Report, which provides important background information and benchmarking that will be used to develop measurable targets and objectives in the Urban Forest Plan.


Phase 2 – Community Engagement | January - February 2024 Currently Underway

Building awareness and providing opportunities for the public to share their vision for the community's urban forest.


Phase 3 – Develop Draft Plan | Spring - Summer 2024

We’re currently in Phase 2!

Develop the draft Urban Forest Plan and share feedback received during previous phase of engagement. 


Phase 4 – Community Engagement | Fall 2024 (anticipated) 

Present the draft Urban Forest Plan for review and feedback from interested parties.


Phase 5 – Finalize the Plan | Winter 2024 (anticipated)

Refine the Plan based on feedback, and present the finalized Plan to Council for endorsement.


Contact Us

Planning & Development Team
Phone: 604-983-7357 
Email: urbanforest@cnv.org

trees with backdrop of downtown
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