OVERVIEW OF THE FRAMEWORK FOR A STRATEGIC URBAN FOREST MANAGEMENT PLAN FOR THE CITY OF GUELPH

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1 OVERVIEW OF THE FRAMEWORK FOR A STRATEGIC URBAN FOREST MANAGEMENT PLAN FOR THE CITY OF GUELPH April 2009 URBAN FOREST INNOVATIONS INC.

2 Outline OUTLINE 1.Rationale for a Strategic Urban Forest Management Plan (SUFMP) 2.Defining a SUFMP 3.Overview of the SUFMP Framework for Guelph 4.Concluding Remarks

3 RATIONALE FOR A SUFMP

4 What makes up the Urban Forest? Trees in natural areas Trees on roadsides RATIONALE FOR A SUFMP Trees in parks Trees on streets Trees on sidewalks Trees in industrial parks, schoolyards, residential yards, etc

5 Urban Forest Benefits The urban forest provides a wide range of benefits for Guelph s residents, such as: Improved air quality Local climate moderation (= energy conservation) Increased property values & improved aesthetics Storm water attenuation & erosion control Improved downstream water quality Noise & dust reduction Wildlife habitat Physical & psychological wellbeing etc. RATIONALE FOR A SUFMP

6 RATIONALE FOR A SUFMP Urban Forest Benefits Leaf Area Benefits Tree Size

7 Increasing Pressures on Urban Trees The Challenge The City of Guelph needs to accommodate more people. People need greenspaces but also need: more homes and schools infrastructure / services (roads, water / waste water, etc.) amenities (e.g., grocery stores, banks, etc.) parks for active use (e.g., baseball, soccer) Guelph is projected to exceed 157,000 people in 2027 RATIONALE FOR A SUFMP As urban intensification and expansion continue, how will the tree canopy be maintained and regenerated?

8 Guelph s Urban Forest The Solution A plan to manage trees as green infrastructure on par with infrastructure such as roads, sewers and buildings to ensure the forest provides the maximum available benefits to the community well into the future. RATIONALE FOR A SUFMP

9 WHAT IS A SUFMP?

10 Strategic Plan Temporal Structure WHAT IS A SUFMP?

11 Strategic Plan Components Goals and Objectives Tree Inventory City of Guelph Strategic Urban Forest Plan Plan Components Public Education Communication Budget WHAT IS A SUFMP? History and Context Trees Tree Establishment Existing Policies Plantable Spaces Pruning Community Stratification Mapping / GIS Plant Health Care Plan Shaded areas are found in all plan levels Inventory Maintenance Plan Hazard Abatement/Risk Management

12 How is Success Measured Over Time? Through criteria and indicators. Criterion: A criterion is characterized by a set of related indicators which are monitored periodically to assess change. WHAT IS A SUFMP? Indicator: A measure (measurement) of an aspect of the criterion. A quantitative or qualitative variable which can be measured or described and which, when observed periodically, demonstrates trends. The Montréal Process l

13 Examples of Criteria and Indicators Criteria Canopy cover Low The existing canopy cover equals 0 25% of potential. Moderate The existing canopy cover equals 25 50% of potential. Performance Indicators Good The existing canopy cover equals 50 75% of potential. Optimal The existing canopy cover equals % of potential. Key Objective Achieve climate and region appropriate degree of canopy cover, communitywide. WHAT IS A SUFMP? Neighbourhood action No action Isolated and limited number of groups City wide coverage and interaction All neighbourhoods organized and cooperating At the neighbourhood level, citizens understand and participate in UF management. Tree inventory No tree inventory Complete or sample based inventory of publicly owned trees Complete inventory of publicly owned trees and sample based inventory of private trees. Complete inventory of publicly owned trees and sample based inventory of privately owned trees included in city wide GIS Complete inventory of the tree resource to direct its management. This includes: age distribution, species mix, tree condition, risk assessment.

14 Importance of Adaptive Management A systematic process for continually improving management policies and practices by learning from the outcomes of previously employed policies and practices. UN Millennium Ecosystem Assessment WHAT IS A SUFMP?

15 A FRAMEWORK FOR GUELPH S SUFMP

16 Guelph s Urban Forest In 2007, our team prepared the Framework for the Strategic Urban Forest Management Plan for the City of Guelph: This report reviewed the current status of management in Guelph and provides a 20+ year path to allow the City to shift to effective and adaptive management. A FRAMEWORK FOR GUELPH S SUFMP

17 Existing Conditions Guelph s canopy cover is estimated at ~30%. Trees in natural areas of the city (12.5%) Overall natural cover within the City is ~24% about half (12.5% ) of this is forested, including large areas of forested wetlands (i.e. swamps) ~8.5% deciduous, coniferous and mixed forested uplands and wetlands ~3.5% plantations, cultural woodlands and hedgerows Trees in urban parts of the city Many older areas have mature, predominantly native trees. Most newer areas have younger trees mix of native and non native. Not enough trees have been planted to replace the old ones in decline A FRAMEWORK FOR GUELPH S SUFMP

18 Key Challenges Over the Next 20 Years 1. Develop an accurate inventory to gain better understanding of the urban forest. 2. Manage the hazards presented by an ageing tree canopy. 3. Accelerate replacement plantings to compensate for past inadequate reinvestment and strategize to mitigate against tree pests / diseases and climate change. A FRAMEWORK FOR GUELPH S SUFMP 4. Ensure new plantings are placed in conditions to maximize longevity and benefits. 5. Effectively protect and manage remaining forested areas as Guelph continues its growth (i.e., balance ). 6. Obtaining and maintaining broad support from the community stakeholders andcouncilors

19 Strategic Plan Components Identified in Framework 1. Communications Strategy Stakeholder / community consultations, SUFMP steering committee Ongoing education / outreach, stewardship 2. Inventory Strategy Data collection, GIS and asset management 3. Forest Management & Sustainability Strategy Tree protection and tree establishment Tree risk assessment and hazard abatement Tree pruning and plant health care A FRAMEWORK FOR GUELPH S SUFMP 4. Landscape Connectivity Strategy Ecological linkages within the City and with the County

20 Categories of Recommendations A. Policy & Guidelines B. Strategic Planning C. Communications D. Inventory E. Forest Management & Sustainability F. Landscape Connectivity Strategy A FRAMEWORK FOR GUELPH S SUFMP

21 A. Policy & Guideline Recommendations # RECOMMENDATION PRIORITY 1) 2) City policy should define the urban forest as essential green infrastructure and as a priority for protection and ongoing management. Develop City wide policies for tree preservation, replacement and enhancement. 3) Define, protect and enhance natural linkages (as identified through the Natural Heritage System). 4) 5) Update the City s Tree By law. Determine if staffing is adequate to enforce revised policies and an updated tree by law A FRAMEWORK FOR GUELPH S SUFMP

22 B. Strategic Planning Recommendations # RECOMMENDATION PRIORITY 6 8) Develop a Strategic Urban Forest Management Plan with: a 20 yr approach, 5 yr mgmt plans, annual operational plans an adaptive management implementation approach criteria and indicators to track progress 1 A FRAMEWORK FOR GUELPH S SUFMP

23 C. Communication Recommendations # RECOMMENDATION PRIORITY 9) 10) 11) 12) Develop vision and goals for SUFMP through stakeholder and community consultations. Explore options for providing support for volunteer tree planting activities. Create a SUFMP Technical Steering Committee. Improve inter departmental co ordination re. tree protection, replacement and enhancement. 13) Expand public education initiatives e.g., City website, urban forestry workshops, etc A FRAMEWORK FOR GUELPH S SUFMP

24 D. Inventory Recommendations # RECOMMENDATION PRIORITY 14) 15) 16) 17) Set up goals and a system for data collection and asset management (through the SUFMP). Conduct a tree inventory on City lands outside public natural areas (1 st 5 yr mgmt plan). Use data collected to monitor tree canopy cover and help identify potential tree planting locations. Explore options for managing forestry asset management system. 18) Conduct a tree inventory in all City owned woodlands (2 nd 5 yr mgmt plan) A FRAMEWORK FOR GUELPH S SUFMP

25 E. Urban Forest Strategy & Sustainability Recommendations # RECOMMENDATION PRIORITY 19) 20) 21) 22) Develop specifications for City wide tree preservation, plantings and enhancements. Coordinate inventory and risk assessment work on City trees, and implement corrective measures on high risk trees. Establish a pruning cycle and grid pruning program on street and park trees. Develop a re inspection protocol for low med risk trees, possibly in conjunction with pruning. 23) Hire (or sub contract) additional arborists to support ongoing tree protection / management / planting A FRAMEWORK FOR GUELPH S SUFMP 24) Develop a strategy for monitoring and controlling invasive species (woody plants and tree pests). 3

26 F. Landscape Connectivity Recommendations # RECOMMENDATION PRIORITY 25) Following inventory, identify all potential reforestation opportunities in City urban matrix. 3 A FRAMEWORK FOR GUELPH S SUFMP

27 Key Themes in Recommendations Priority focus of City resources on trees on City owned lands Need for City wide standards for protection, replacement and enhancement Need to know what you have before you can manage it Importance of ongoing risk assessment of City trees Need for different approaches for trees in urban matrix versus natural areas management A FRAMEWORK FOR GUELPH S SUFMP

28 IMPLEMENTATION & CONCLUDING REMARKS

29 Management and The Future As many of Canada s urban forests decline due to old age, mounting urban stresses, exotic insect infestations and climate change, there is an increasing need for strategic planning and proactive management of these green infrastructure assets. IMPLEMENTATION An Urban Forest Strategic Management Plan can keep Guelph at the forefront of progressive urban forest planning.

30 Implementation Tools: Good Planning Implementation of the NHS Tree friendly zoning Tree By laws (public / private) Tree first site plan process IMPLEMENTATION STRATEGIC PLANN Tree friendly urban design and open space guidelines Exploration of all planting opportunities: Areas adjacent to NHS, including restoration areas already identified Boulevards / Streetscapes Storm water management areas Neighbourhood parks Business parks Green Roofs, etc.

31 Implementation: Good Tree Planting Practices Appropriate, sustainable locations avoid conflict with infrastructure allow for adequate space Tree habitat and engineering plant in soil (not construction waste) IMPLEMENTATION STRATEGIC PLANNING Details use current and successful methods for optimizing tree growth technologies for soil decompaction mulch Details coordinated with zoning by laws

32 Concluding Statement To truly recognize the City of Guelph s urban forest as green infrastructure, requires: 1. Good planning 2. Effective protection, and 3. Ongoing management CONCLUDING STRATEGIC REMARKS PLAN This can be effectively achieved through a Strategic Urban Forest Management Plan that: A. Standardizes policies and practices related to trees on a City wide basis, B. Is supported by all City departments, local stakeholders and the community, and C. Has the human and capital resources required to carry out priority initiatives.

33 THANK YOU FOR YOUR INTEREST

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