Urban forest project launched

Tree cover in the Capital Regional District is declining at an alarming rate.

Tree cover in the Capital Regional District is declining at an alarming rate.

In response, Habitat Acquisition Trust is launching an Urban Forest Good Neighbours Project to help private landowners care for their trees and find solutions to tree-related problems.

Trees in urban areas can increase property value and curb appeal, their canopy can reduce power bills, clean air, provide protection from sound and light pollution, and improve overall physical health and well-being.

The Greater Victoria area hosts an incredible diversity of trees that line streets, enrich parks and bring life to backyards.

A recent mapping study by HAT revealed the anticipated result of six years of significant tree cover loss across the 13 municipalities in the CRD.

It also found over six years (2005 to 2011), 1,500 hectares of impervious surface replaced previously green spaces. Impervious surfaces essentially do the opposite of trees; increasing water runoff, trapping heat and concentrating pollution in waterways, and further exacerbating the loss of tree cover in the CRD.

Most tree loss in Greater Victoria is occurring on private property, leaving a huge role for private landowners to care for their existing trees as well as plant new trees.

HAT is working to bring urban forests to the forefront of community awareness through its Good Neighbours Program aimed to help local landowners meet their property goals.

Learn more about the trees in your neighbourhood by contacting HAT for information on upcoming urban forest walk and talks from local experts, join community planting projects for tips on tree planting and care, and sign-up for your own free, private land-care consultation.

Please contact stewardship coordinator, Jill Robinson at jill@hat.bc.ca for more information.

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Submitted by Jill Robinson, stewardship coordinator,  Habitat Acquisition Trust.