“In 2008, the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) Forest Service Northern Research Station was contracted by Toronto Urban Forestry to help design and implement an urban forestry study for the City of Toronto.”
This is what the report found:
Toronto has approximately 26.6 -28% tree canopy cover representing 10.2 million trees
The urban tree’s canopy is a vital city asset with an estimated structural value of $7.1 billion
Private property owners in Toronto control a majority of the existing and possible urban tree canopy
Toronto’s urban tree canopy provides the equivalent of at least $28.2 million in ecological services each year. The benefits derived from the urban tree canopy exceed the annual cost of management.
Toronto’s urban trees improves air quality, intercepting 1,905 metric tonnes of air pollutants annually (the equivalent value of $16.9 million/year)
The distribution of urban tree canopy cover across Toronto is uneven. Many of the city’s trees are concentrated in Toronto’s ravine system or valley lands.
The average tree diameter in Toronto is 16.3 cm. Only 14% of Toronto’s trees are greater than 30.6 cm in diameter. A 75 cm tree in Toronto intercepts ten times more air pollution, can store up to 90 times more carbon and contributes up to 100 times more leaf area to the city’s tree canopy than a 15 cm tree.
Trees are reaching the end of their lifespans in many of Toronto’s older neighbourhoods. Timely replacement is critical to maintaining the urban tree canopy cover in these areas.
The Foundation and the City of Toronto have launched Every Tree Counts, a campaign in support of our goal to increase the City’s tree canopy to 40% over the next 50 years. To meet this target, 300,000 new trees must be planted in Toronto each year. The City of Toronto, Urban Forestry plants over 100,000 trees annually on the 40% of the City they manage as public lands (i.e. parks, green spaces and streets).
Sixty percent of Toronto is described as private land where the greatest potential for additional tree planting exists. This is where the Foundation comes in. We partner with the City of Toronto to coordinate efforts to encourage additional tree planting on private land.