The Social and Economic Values of Canada’s Urban Forests: A National Synthesis
This past spring, the Canadian Forest Service commissioned 4 UBC Forestry student researchers (Lorien Nesbitt, Ngaio Hotte, Sara Barron and Judith Cowan), under the direction of Dr Stephen Sheppard, to prepare a report synthesizing the burgeoning body of Canadian and international urban forest research.
The primary goal of the investigation was to assess the value of Canada’s urban forest resource to Canadian society and the economy, and highlight areas for future research. The report examined a range of urban forest assessment tools and reviewed the value of urban forest benefits in the areas of human health and well-being, ecosystem services, and economic prosperity.
This research built on recent Canadian studies and projects that have reported on key ecosystem services provided by urban forests, using metrics to assign monetary and other values to support a business case for investment in urban forest management.
The report identified a wide range of urban forest benefits that are important to Canadian society and the economy. From energy savings, reduced air pollution, and climate change adaptation, to better mental health, improved pregnancy outcomes, and increased community economic development, urban forests provide key benefits to Canadian cities.
As the practice of urban forestry develops, there is still much work to be done in helping to shape the future of Canada’s urban forests and maximizing their benefits. Balancing the costs of managing urban forests with the benefits they generate is essential in order for decision makers to sustain liveable urban spaces and quality of life for Canadians.
Learn about the Faculty of Forestry’s undergraduate Urban Forestry degree program.