The urban forest is where we live, work, and play. It’s in our back yard, our front yard, and our parks. It’s by the river, by the office building, and on the street corner. The majority of Canadians live in the urban landscape, where the trees and shrubbery of our public spaces and private properties are, in day-to-day life, our deepest connection to nature.
So, whose job is it to nurture the living giants of our cities? More often than not, it’s the municipality’s responsibility. At the provincial and federal levels, few laws or regulations govern the urban forest, except in cases of specific problems or threats.
Many cities hire professional foresters, and establish advisory committees. Some work with agencies to manage public spaces, like the National Capital Commission in Ottawa, the Commission de la Capitale nationale in Québec City, and the Wascana Centre Authority in Regina.
Municipalities often receive funding support for urban forest projects from non-government organizations and companies. That’s what we aim to do with our programs like TD Green Streets and Greening Canada's School Grounds.
As much as people around the world associate Canada to be a "Forest Nation" or "Forest People", in reality 78% of Canadians live in urban centres. For most Canadians, the forest they most closely associate with are the woodlot remnants, riparian borders and street trees that constitute the urban forest.