This documentary video, put together by Mike and Luke Sargent, highlights the issues affecting the urban forest in Toronto and what LEAF – Local Enhancement and Appreciation of Forests is doing to foster a sense of stewardship amongst our residents:
Here is a letter from LEAF – Local Enhancement and Appreciation of Forests – urging Canadians in Toronto, Ontario, to let Councillors know before Tuesday, November 29th, that healthy trees are a priority in your neighbourhoods which require tree protection and planting:
Dear friends and supporters,
At the end of November 2011, Toronto City Council will begin reviewing the 2012 budget that will affect many of our city services. There will be urban forest items on the City Council meeting agenda scheduled for November 29th and 30th. Please let your Councillor know today that healthy trees are a priority in your neighbourhood! Here are some points to consider:
- Our urban forest is the living green infrastructure that makes our city livable. We receive huge returns on any investments we make in its care and maintenance in the form of clean air, reduced storm water costs, shade, UV protection, tourism dollars and increased property values. A study in New York City revealed a $5 return for every $1 invested.
- A recent Toronto study shows that our urban forest provides the equivalent of at least $60 million in ecological services each year (air quality improvements, carbon sequestration, etc.). The benefits derived from the urban forest significantly exceed the annual cost of its management. Protection of our existing trees is of utmost importance – Toronto’s tree protection bylaws must be maintained and enforced.
- Ash trees represent about 9% of the current forest canopy in Toronto. The spread of Emerald Ash Borer, an invasive insect, will decimate our ash population over the next ten years. Tree protection and planting will need to increase significantly, just to sustain existing urban forest canopy levels.
- Funding for our urban forest has already been reduced. In 2009, Toronto City Council approved funding for a seven year service plan to better protect, maintain and grow our urban forest; this funding was reduced in 2010 and then suspended in 2011.
City Council should not alter the established goal of doubling our tree canopy by 2050, or reduce our urban forestry budget. In the face of threats such as Emerald Ash Borer and increasing development pressure, Council should hold firm to the goal of doubling our canopy and ensure that tree protection and planting are prioritized.
To contact your Councillor, click here. Please be sure to contact yours in the next few days before the upcoming Council meeting on Tuesday, November 29th. You can also share this letter on the LEAF blog through social media to help spread the word.
Janet McKay, Executive Director
LEAF – Local Enhancement and Appreciation of Forests
Artscape Wychwood Barns
253-601 Christie St
Toronto, ON M6G 4C7
Improving city life one tree at a time
Please share this message.”
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