World’s city greening experts gather in Vancouver

Vancouver will host the largest international conference on urban forestry ever held, with more than 700 urban greening experts from across the world assembling in Vancouver next week.

Trees and green spaces are crucial components of our cities and towns. However, most cities are still losing trees and green spaces due to climate change, invasive pests, development, and densification.

Following its vision of the Greenest City, the City of Vancouver and the Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation with help from the City of Surrey will host the International Urban Forestry Congress (IUFC 2018). IUFC 2018 will provide a variety of keynote speaking sessions, Tree Academy classes and workshops, field trips and a tree climbing competition. Under the title ‘The Urban Forest – Diverse in Nature’, the focus is on the importance of diversity, in terms of using wider range of tree and other species to make cities more ‘climate proof’, diversifying urban populations, as well as involvement of the diverse professions that encompass the field of urban forestry.

This unique event combines editions of the Tree Canada’s Canadian Urban Forest Conference, the annual conference of the Pacific Northwest Chapter of the International Society of Arboriculture (PNW-ISA), and the UBC’s international Urban Tree Diversity conference. “Since 1993 Tree Canada has been proud to co-host the Canadian Urban Forest Conference every two years,” says Mike Rosen, President of Tree Canada. “Over those years we have marvelled at the growth in interest in urban forests to the point whereby here we are today, with a number of partners, helping deliver perhaps the largest urban forest conference ever, as part of the International Urban Forest Congress.

Canadian keynote speakers include Joyce Murray, Member of Parliament for Vancouver Quadra, and professor Suzanne Simard, University of British Columbia (UBC). Dr. Simard’s work on the underground communication of trees inspired the recent bestseller ‘The Secret Life of Trees’ and resulted in a TED Talk seen by millions of viewers.

International speakers include professor Chris Baines, one of the United Kingdom’s leading independent environmentalists and an award-winning writer and broadcaster, Dr. John Gathright, Founder of Tree Climbing Japan, and Jeremy Barrell, Director of Barrell Tree Consultancy. Canadian-born John Gathright will introduce his fascinating work with what he calls ‘therapeutic tree climbing’ in Japan. Jeremy Barrell, one of Britain’s most influential voices on planning and legal tree management practices, promises to discuss ways of maintaining trees during development processes, and the need to educate politicians about good tree care.

Program chair Cecil Konijnendijk, Professor of urban forestry at UBC’s Faculty of Forestry says, “We have succeeded in bringing together many of the world’s leading thinkers in green city thinking and implementation. Cities urgently need to address greening in the face of increasing climate and other challenges.”

Learn more about IUFC 2018 at http://www.iufcvancouver2018.com. Registration is still available in person at the registration desk at the Westin Bayshore Vancouver until October 3rd.

Media information:
Media representatives are encouraged to attend during the Congress Opening on Monday, October 1stat 9am – media passes are available from the registration desk. Interviews with keynote speakers and organisers can be arranged.

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About the Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation
For over 120 years, the Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation has been providing, preserving, and advocating for parks and recreation services within the city of Vancouver. It manages many beautiful and iconic landscapes including the world famous Stanley Park.

Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation Media Contact:
Bill Stephen, Urban Forester, bill.stephen@vancouver.ca, (604) 861-1753

About Tree Canada
Tree Canada is a non-profit charity dedicated to improving the lives of Canadians by planting and nurturing trees. Since 1992, we’ve planted more than 80 million trees, greened more than 600 schoolyards, helped restore places hit by natural disasters and brought together urban forestry experts greening cities all across Canada. Get involved or learn more about us at treecanada.ca.

Tree Canada Media Contact:
Carol Burnup, Communications Manager, cburnup@treecanada.ca, (613) 601-1219

About PNW-ISA
The Pacific Northwest Chapter of the International Society of Arboriculture (PNW-ISA) is a member organization for arborists and urban foresters. It aims to foster a greater appreciation of trees and promote the professional practice of arboriculture through education, research, and technology. PNW-ISA brings together professionals from Alaska, Idaho, Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia. https://pnwisa.org/

PNW-ISA Media Contact:
Nadia Chan, Director of Public Outreach, nchan@surrey.ca, (778) 834-5333

About UBC Faculty of Forestry 
UBC Forestry is one of the world’s leading forestry schools, offering an exciting range of programs related to the science, art and practice of managing diverse ecosystems and landscapes, and the products and services that they generate. http://www.forestry.ubc.ca/

UBC Faculty of Forestry Media Contact:
Cecil Konijnendijk, Professor and IUFC 2018 Program Chair, cecil.konijnendijk@ubc.ca, (604) 789-4809