In case you missed it, the City of Winnipeg released a State of the Urban Forest report in April 2021 that gave our city a “fair” grade.
Winnipeg’s canopy cover (the amount of the city covered by urban forest) is estimated at 17%, higher than other prairie cities, such as Edmonton at 10% and Saskatoon at 9%. In comparison, Toronto’s canopy cover is 28% and Vancouver’s is 23%.
According to the report, Winnipeg’s canopy cover hasn’t changed significantly since 2005. However, tree loss is expected to accelerate due to Dutch elm disease, emerald ash borer, extreme weather events, and climate change.
Here’s some key facts about our trees:
- There are just over 3 million trees in the city.
- Most of these are on private property with just 300,000 on public property (public boulevards and planted park trees).
- The five most common species are trembling aspen (21%), green ash (14%), bur oak (11%), American elm (10%), and Manitoba maple (6%).
- Our trees are worth approximately $3.31 billion. That’s the estimated cost of compensation to replace each tree with a similar tree. It would cost approximately $640 million to replace all our public trees.
Trees also provide a range of services for all of us. These cost savings and offsets are estimated at:
- Carbon storage: $39.2 million
- Carbon sequestration (annual): $830,000
- Avoided run off (annual): $3.23 million
- Pollution removal (annual): $4.01 million
- Building energy savings (annual): $5.8 million
- Avoided carbon emissions (annual): $610,000
So what is the City of Winnipeg doing to protect trees planted on public property, such as boulevards?
- Winnipeg’s trees are on a 31-year pruning cycle (target is 5-7 years)
- In the last two years more than 5500 public trees were removed by the City.
- An average of 2000 trees are planted each year.
- In 2020, only 19% of removed trees were replanted.
Please check out the full report here
For a more visual representation of tree loss, check out this interactive map developed for Trees Please Winnipeg to illustrate trees lost and added (by species) since 2015. https://treespleasewinnipeg.com/treedata/
Submitted by Carol Thiessen, Trees Riverview