Why does Hamilton need an Urban Forest Strategy?

    We all know that trees are important. Trees are the single solution to many of our challenges, especially in a changing climate. Trees are often called “green infrastructure” because they provide many valuable services. These services include improving air and water quality, controlling floods, storing carbon, beautifying neighbourhoods, reducing energy use, providing habitat for wildlife, and providing recreation opportunities. 

    However, pressures on trees are increasing due to pests and diseases, drought and extreme weather events as a result of climate change, development pressure, invasive species, and difficult urban growing conditions.

    Trees live a long time and need to be carefully planned and maintained. The strategy will provide a clear and comprehensive plan for how the City and residents can protect and grow Hamilton’s urban forest over the next 20 years.

    When it is complete, Hamilton’s first urban forest strategy will guide our efforts to ensure a healthy urban forest that provides benefits for the entire community. 

    What is the Urban Forest?

    The urban forest includes all individual trees, groups of trees, and woodlands growing on private and public lands within the urban area. It includes parks, green spaces, natural areas and ravines, the escarpment, as well as individual trees along streets, and in neighbourhoods, commercial, institutional, and industrial areas.

    How will my input be used?

    Your comments will be carefully considered by staff when revising the final urban forest strategy reports. Also, all feedback will be summarized and provided to Council when they review the final report.

    How will the urban forest strategy be implemented?

    The strategy will include short, medium, and long-term actions that will be implemented by various departments within the City, such as Planning or Forestry. Some actions would require Council approval of additional resources (staff or budget) before they can be implemented. Other actions may simply involve improvements to existing policies or processes, which can be completed using existing staff. Through the Climate Change Action Plan, the City is aware of the urgency in growing Hamilton’s urban forest. For this reason, many of the actions in the Strategy are short term, to be implemented within 3 years. The City is also committed to working closely with its community partners to ensure efficient and rapid implementation.