Winnipeg Urban Forest Strategy

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Email this link

Introduction

Winnipeggers enjoy and value the city’s trees. Now is the time to plan to ensure we continue to enjoy our urban forest for years to come.

The Winnipeg Urban Forest Strategy will provide a 20-year vision for our city’s tree canopy and develop policy, recommendations, and strategic actions to help protect, preserve, and grow the canopy well into the future.

It will provide direction for all of Winnipeg’s urban forest, which includes vegetation, trees, soil, and associated natural processes across both public and private lands. The urban forest is in our parks, on our streets, and in our own

Introduction

Winnipeggers enjoy and value the city’s trees. Now is the time to plan to ensure we continue to enjoy our urban forest for years to come.

The Winnipeg Urban Forest Strategy will provide a 20-year vision for our city’s tree canopy and develop policy, recommendations, and strategic actions to help protect, preserve, and grow the canopy well into the future.

It will provide direction for all of Winnipeg’s urban forest, which includes vegetation, trees, soil, and associated natural processes across both public and private lands. The urban forest is in our parks, on our streets, and in our own backyards. We’re calling on Winnipeggers to participate in our visioning and planning.


Background

Trees provide many important benefits, including cooling our streets in the summer, reducing rainwater runoff and air pollution, improving mental and physical health, and beautifying our city. But Winnipeg’s urban forest faces significant challenges from insects and disease, climate change, urban development, and resource strains.

While American elm and ash represent 26 percent and 33 percent of the public trees, respectively, both are under siege due to Dutch Elm Disease and the Emerald Ash Borer. The City’s capacity to maintain the urban forest is also challenged as resources struggle to keep pace with demand for disease management, urban development, tree removals, maintenance, and replanting. These combined challenges threaten the urban forest’s capacity to provide beneficial ecosystem services like climate control, improved air quality, rainwater interception, and habitat connectivity – key components of our city’s resilience amid climate change.

In response to a report on additional resources required for Dutch elm disease management (September 2017), ongoing preparation for Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) and the discovery of EAB in November 2017, on December 12, 2017, Council approved the Urban Forest Enhancement Capital Project which supports the creation of the Winnipeg Urban Forest Strategy.

The Winnipeg Urban Forest Strategy project is an opportunity to establish a long-term vision for Winnipeg’s urban forest, and to develop clear guidance and measurable outcomes for the funding and levels of service required to sustain an ecosystem that responds to current and future challenges.


Public Engagement

The public engagement objectives for this project are to:

  • Inform the public about:
    • the role of the urban forest in the community, including its unique economic, environmental, and social contributions
    • the impacts of invasive pests and diseases, development, and climate change
    • the need for canopy protection and enhancement, including on private property
  • Develop a community-supported, long-term urban forest vision that captures the community’s perspective on the city’s identity, culture, and aspirations
  • Identify opportunities to preserve and protect, grow, and enhance the urban forest
  • Build community awareness of, and support and advocacy for the urban forest and the Winnipeg Urban Forest Strategy
Navigate the FAQs quickly with the search box below.
  • Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Email this link

    What is the urban forest?

    28 days ago

    The term urban forest describes the sum total of all trees, vegetation, soil, and associated natural processes across a landscape – both on public and private land. This includes all trees in parks and existing forests, on streets, private properties and agricultural lands, and as part of other ecosystems.

  • Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Email this link

    Why does Winnipeg need an urban forest strategy?

    28 days ago

    Winnipeg’s urban forest faces many significant challenges. These challenges include insects and disease that threaten the most common tree species in the city, as well as climate change and urban development that continue to place pressure on the urban tree canopy. These combined challenges threaten the urban forest’s capacity to provide beneficial ecosystem services like cooling, improved air quality, rainwater interception, and habitat connectivity – all key contributors to our city’s resilience. The Winnipeg Urban Forest Strategy provides an opportunity to establish a long-term vision for the urban forest, to develop clear guidance and measurable outcomes, and to identify the resources required to sustain an urban forest that is resilient to current and future challenges.

  • Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Email this link

    What is involved in developing the Winnipeg Urban Forest Strategy?

    28 days ago

    Developing the Winnipeg Urban Forest Strategy will require:

    • Analysing technical information and data to assess the current state of the city’s urban forest 
    • Conducting jurisdictional scans to look at how other municipalities are responding to similar challenges
    • Engaging with residents and stakeholders to identify priorities and potential solutions for preserving, protecting, growing, and enhancing the urban forest
    • Developing a community-supported vision for the urban forest that captures Winnipeggers’ perspectives on identity, culture, and long-term wants and needs 
    • Drafting a strategy that uses information gathered through analysis and engagement to shape a vision and recommendations for managing Winnipeg’s urban forest
    • Refining the draft Strategy and recommendations with feedback from residents, City staff and other stakeholders


  • Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Email this link

    What does the City currently do to manage trees?

    28 days ago

    The City manages more than 300,000 public trees on our streets and in our parks. The Urban Forestry Branch is responsible for the City’s public tree inventory, including tree planting, watering, pruning, removals, protection and inspections, Dutch Elm Disease management on all properties, public education, consulting and extension services, and contract administration.

  • Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Email this link

    Why are there so many American elm and ash trees in Winnipeg?

    28 days ago

    The City has been planting trees on boulevards and in urban parks since the late 1800s. American elm was a tree of choice because it is native and hardy, reaches a grand size, and creates beautiful arching canopies over streets. Our city has the largest urban population of American elms in North America. When Dutch Elm Disease (DED) was first discovered in Winnipeg in 1975, the City responded and quickly became a municipal leader in DED management.

    As an alternative to the American elm, ash trees were widely planted because they are also native and can tolerate Winnipeg’s climate and urban conditions. However, ash is now under threat with the 2017 detection of emerald ash borer and cottony ash psyllid infestations. The City began reducing the number of ash trees planted in 2009, and altogether stopped planting ash trees in 2016. Few other shade tree species offer the same promise of reliable growth that elm and ash have historically provided.

  • Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Email this link

    What is the City doing to manage Dutch Elm Disease?

    28 days ago

    Dutch Elm Disease (DED) was first detected in Winnipeg in 1975. Since then, the City has become known as a North American leader in municipal DED management. Winnipeg’s Urban Forestry Branch conducts annual city-wide surveillance of all American elms, monitors for and enforces proper disposal of elm firewood, removes diseased elms from public and private properties, and prunes and plants a diverse mix of trees on public property. The City’s Insect Control Branch conducts elm bark beetle control. The Urban Forestry Branch also provides public education in partnership with Trees Winnipeg, a local non-government urban forestry organization. 

    Find more information at: https://www.winnipeg.ca/publicworks/parksOpenSpace/UrbanForestry/DED.stm

  • Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Email this link

    What is the City doing to manage Emerald Ash Borer?

    28 days ago

    Emerald ash borer (EAB) was discovered in the City in 2017. The City’s early EAB response included surveillance and tree removal in the areas where EAB was first detected. The Urban Forestry Branch has identified the "Slow Ash Mortality," or SLAM approach as the most effective to manage EAB and the loss of our ash trees to this invasive pest. Through this approach, a percentage of eligible ash trees on public properties will be injected with an approved pesticide to preserve them as long as possible to help manage the losses. The remaining ash trees on public properties will be removed as they die and will possibly be replaced over time. Currently, this approach is being applied as existing resources permit. 

    Find more information at: https://winnipeg.ca/publicworks/parksOpenSpace/UrbanForestry/EmeraldAsh.stm