The City of Burlington has been recognized by the Arbour Day Foundation and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations as a Tree City of the World.
This is the first time the City of Burlington has been recognized for this prestigious status for leading the way in urban and community forestry.
To earn Tree Cities of the World recognition, a City must demonstrate its commitment by meeting five program standards:
1. Establish responsibility for the care of trees
The Tree Protection and Canopy Enhancement Policy provides direction regarding tree protection, maintenance and canopy enhancement practices, in order to support the growth of the urban forest to achieve a canopy cover target of 35 per cent by 2041.
2. Set rules to govern the management of forests and trees
The Public Tree Bylaw (68-2013) and the Private Tree Bylaw (40-2022) help protect trees on public and private property.
3. Maintain an updated inventory or assessment of local tree resources
The City maintains a current inventory of public trees and tracks their health and condition on an ongoing basis. Inventoried street and park trees were included in the 2021 Asset Management Plan (AMP) which was the first time a living/green/natural asset was included in the plan. An action in the Climate Resilient Burlington plan is to continue to expand natural asset data into Burlington’s AMP.
4. Allocate resources for a tree management plan
The City is replacing the 2010 Urban Forest Management Plan with a new Urban Forest Master Plan. As part of this work, the current state of Burlington’s urban forest was assessed with a tree canopy analysis and a review of the public tree inventory. The results are summarized in the State of the Urban Forest Report and in an interactive Urban Forest Story Map. In addition, a Woodland Management Strategy is being developed to provide standards and guidelines for the management of City woodlands.
5. Hold an annual celebration of trees to educate residents
The City holds regular tree planting celebrations such as this year’s tree planting event at Millcroft Park on Earth Day, April 22, 2023. A total of 500 trees were planted with 10 lucky participants winning a tree to plant at their home. Other tree planting events and neighbourhood tree walks are also held throughout the year to educate the community about our urban forest.
In recognition of this designation, a Tree City of the World flag has been raised at City Hall.
About the Tree City of the World Program
The Arbor Day Foundation is the world’s largest nonprofit membership organization dedicated to planting trees. The Food and Agriculture Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations that leads international efforts to defeat hunger. Both organizations came together in 2019 to found Tree Cities of the World. The program is a global effort to recognize cities and towns committed to ensuring that their urban forests and trees are properly maintained, sustainably managed, and duly celebrated.
Planting trees in a metropolitan area comes with many benefits beyond the recognition of this program. Increasing the number of trees in a community can help reduce costs for energy, stormwater management, and erosion control. In addition, the program provides a network of like-minded city leaders in urban forestry to celebrate and share best practices to cultivate greenery in the community. Tree Cities of the World aims to create more green spaces in urban areas by recognizing the cities that do it well.
Connection to climate change
Preserving, maintaining and enhancing our trees is a key action in Climate Resilient Burlington: A Plan for Adapting to Our Warmer, Wetter and Wilder Weather. Trees give us many benefits including shade and a cooling effect in forested areas versus areas where trees are not present; slowing down and absorbing water when it rains reducing the risk of flooding and erosion; providing a home and a food source for birds, insects and other animals; capturing and storing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere; and more.
Take Action Burlington! Let’s work together to protect the trees we have and to seek opportunities to plant new ones. Collectively we can make a difference.
4 thoughts on “Burlington recognized as a Tree City of the World”
Fantastic! Plant Burr Oaks, White and Red oaks. They are the most important trees for the environment. Before the settlers Burlington. Oakville, Dundas and Brantford were oak savannahs. The oldest white oaks/Burr oaks on Bronte rd. oak with a girth of 16’3″ and the Allview dr./ Brant oak 16’8″are about the same age at 320 years old. The Burr oak at 6214 Appleby ln. 15’7″ BHC 290 yeas old. The largest in the area that I have found is on Brant school rd. at 20’6″ at BHC 400 years old, the next largest Burr oaks are in Dundas Driving park at 15’5″ BHC and the Fisher Mill park at 15′ BHC both at least 300 years old. There are large red oaks on Pinecove, First Ave, and Central park at the north ball diamond that are 200 years old. My point is they are huge carbon sinks that will store it for 300 to 500 years, there are no other trees that I know of that can do the same in this area. So plant an oak it could be one of these massive trees in 2323!
Thank you for the support, Jim! We are also believers in the valuable role that Oak species play in a diverse urban forest. This year, the City is planting 200 oaks streetside, and this past Earth Day 100 of the 500 trees planted in Millcroft Park were oaks. The next step is encouraging residents to plant oak trees on their properties. It’s also very important to remember that the best way to have a healthy oak canopy is to protect existing oaks from construction damage, which can have long lasting effects that lead to the decline of mature oak trees.
That is good to hear. Question are acorns from old oaks in Burlington and Oakville used? It would be cool if schools promoted acorn seedlings to educate the way acorns grow.
In some circumstances locally sourced seeds are used. Trees planted by contractors are sourced separately and come from a variety of sources.