An Evaluation of Potential Policy Tools and Frameworks For Urban Tree Canopy Cover Management in North Vancouver
Jacquie Kwok, MLWS 2020
Urban trees offer a host of benefits both to the environment and to society by having a directly influential impact on physical, biological, and social conditions. Therefore, their appropriate management is critical towards the wellbeing and resiliency of current and future communities in the face of densification and climate change. A geospatial measurement of canopy cover area was conducted on aerial imagery of single-family detached residential lots between 1992 and 2018 within the City and District of North Vancouver to determine the impact that residential subdivisions have had on canopy cover area over time. Across the 20 individually assessed lots that had been subdivided between 1992 and 2018, an overall average decrease of 76% in canopy cover area was found to have occurred by 2018. These findings have far-reaching implications on the health of the surrounding ecology, as well as on community well-being. They also provide grounds to support the notion that a fundamental shift in attitude towards urban trees and their roles in society is required.
A review of policies and frameworks concerning urban tree management and removal was also conducted to determine whether certain frameworks were more effective than others at protecting and encouraging urban canopy growth. Although this project is set within contexts of the City and District of North Vancouver, the evidence used to provide a recommendations framework that supports the maintenance and development of urban canopy cover was synthesized from a variety of local cities and municipalities experiencing similar challenges.