Urban forests turn our cities green, and transform water, nutrients and carbon dioxide into clean air, oxygen, shade and habitat.

About Urban Forests

An urban forest is a dynamic system encompassing trees, shrubs, and green space as well as the soil and water that support them.

Urban forests are critical components of urban infrastructure that exist on private and public lands:

  • Public trees and vegetation include street trees, those in parks, as well as municipally managed forested areas and conservation areas.
  • Private trees and vegetation include those in private front and backyards, around apartment buildings, in parking lots, and on commercial and industrial lots.

What are the Benefits of Urban Forests?


Mitigation: The urban forest can absorb greenhouse gas emissions which helps slow global temperature rise.

Adaptation: The urban forest reduces air temperatures through both shade and evapotranspiration, combating the urban heat island effect and helping address extreme heat events.


Stormwater Management: The urban forest intercepts and helps soils absorb stormwater which can substantially reduce stormwater runoff and flooding.


Temperature Cooling: The urban forest provides shade that keeps buildings cooler, resulting in lower energy costs during the summer.


Habitat: The urban forest offers a critical form of habitat to species living in urban areas.

Water: The urban forest prevents runoff and erosion, resulting in higher water quality and stable slopes.

Clean Air: The urban forest sequesters pollutants and improves air quality by removing carbon dioxide.


Psychological Well-being: The aesthetic appeal of the urban forest has been linked to improved mood and focus.

Mental Health: Experiences in nature have been shown to reduce symptoms of ADHD in children.

Physical Health: Trees in urban areas help promote physical activity and are linked to reduced incidence of asthma.

Noise: The urban forest provides sound buffering from traffic, construction and other city noises.


Relationships: The urban forest as a part of green spaces allow for neighbours to interact and build community.


Land and Property Value: The urban forest on private yards and in public parks increase the value of properties by creating visual appeal.