Hot off the presses! The City of Winnipeg has released a draft of its first comprehensive forest strategy. The plan provides a 20-year vision for how to protect, preserve and enhance Winnipeg’s tree canopy. And it’s now open for public consultation.
The draft strategy recognizes the grave risks that face our collective urban forest including Dutch elm disease, emerald ash borer, extreme weather events and climate change.
Its big goal is to see Winnipeg’s tree canopy cover increase from 17% to 24% by 2065. This refers to the amount of the city covered by urban forest, and is only deemed possible if Emerald Ash Borer is slow to establish and elm loss is kept at low levels. Otherwise, keeping canopy levels at 17% will be the much lower target.
Further targets include:
● Public tree replacement of 1:1 (one tree replaced for every tree removed). Currently less than one tree is planted for every three trees removed.
● Public tree loss annually of no more than 1.5%. For comparison, in 2020, 1.4% of public trees were lost.
● Pruning cycles: 7 years for street trees, 12 years for park trees. Current pruning cycle has lengthened to 31 years.
● More diversity in public trees: no more than 10% of any one species; no more than 20% of any genus. Currently 58% of public tree inventory is ash and elm.
With the enormous risks to Winnipeg’s crucial tree canopy, this strategy will help determine what our city will look like in coming years and decades. It needs to set an ambitious path forward. But has it done that? Are these the right targets? Will there be sufficient resources to ensure success? This strategy gives no budget numbers so that will be the major question going forward.
Trees Riverview has just begun our review and we will be asking these questions–and providing our feedback. We encourage you to participate in the consultation and add your voice to the discussion before June 22. Find out more: https://engage.winnipeg.ca/urbanforest