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I-Tree Eco Analyses in the GTA Evaluating the Ecosystem Services Provided by Our Urban Forests.

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Presentation on theme: "I-Tree Eco Analyses in the GTA Evaluating the Ecosystem Services Provided by Our Urban Forests."— Presentation transcript:

1 i-Tree Eco Analyses in the GTA Evaluating the Ecosystem Services Provided by Our Urban Forests

2 Outline Introduction to i-Tree Eco Collaboration on GTA studies Toronto study results GTA study results Next steps

3 Rationale for i-Tree Eco Studies USDA Forest Service i-Tree suite provides science-based analysis and benefits assessment tools Eco uses field plots, air pollution and meteorological data to quantify urban forest structure, environmental effects and value Generates baseline data that can inform management decisions, policy and strategic planning

4 GTA i-Tree Collaboration 2008 TRCA joint planning session –i-Tree experts, researchers, users from GTA and other Ontario municipalities Harmonized study design & methodologies Potential for consolidating data in future Opportunity to raise profile of urban forests Connected UF professionals across the GTA

5 Toronto Study Elements In Toronto: i-Tree Eco plus… plus Field data collection (407 plots) i-Tree Eco data analysis (USDA) basics i-Tree Hydro, Grow Out modeling Forest & land cover change analysis Digital land cover map Street tree data extras Measuring land cover change using orthophotos Automated land cover classification using 0.6m Quickbird satellite imagery

6 * Tree canopy is approximately 20% Goal: Achieve & maintain between 30-40% Torontos urban forest is a vital city asset with a replacement value of $7 billion. Torontos tree cover is average compared to cities of similar size.

7 Distribution of Tree Cover Goal: More even/equitable distribution of tree cover Distribution of tree cover is uneven Data can be used to prioritize planting areas Average tree cover by neighbourhood Average tree cover by ward

8 6% located in City road allowances 34% located in City parks and natural areas 60% located on private property Ownership Private property owners control a majority of the Citys existing and possible tree canopy.

9 Land Use Affects Tree Canopy Goal: Improve distribution & quality of tree cover Land use affects Distribution of forest cover Species composition & diversity Average tree size Generalized Land Use % Tree Cover % of Citys land area Parks44%11% Open Space27%6% Residential Single24%41% Residential Multi16%6% Institutional15%7% Other (vacant)14%7% Utility & Trans12%4% Commercial5%7% Industrial4%11%

10 Land/Forest Cover Change (*preliminary) Tree Cover -0.7% Biggest change in neighbourhoods (-1.3%)

11 Forest Composition & Condition Goal: High diversity, appropriate species, healthy trees Good species diversity overall species & cultivars Exception - maple & ash (41%) Majority of trees are in good condition (exception: street trees)

12 Forest Size Class Structure Goal: Maintain regeneration, reduce mortality, increase % mid- to large-size trees Number of large trees relative to small is low Have good regeneration, but Large trees provide maximum benefits increase

13 Value of Ecological Services Provided by Torontos Urban Forest Carbon storage = 1.1 million tonnes Carbon sequestration = 46,700 tonnes Building energy reduction = 41,200 MWH Avoided carbon emissions = 17,000 tonnes Air pollution removed = 1,680 metric tonnes Annual equivalent value = $60 million+ i-Tree Hydro shows reduction in stream flow rates with increased forest cover % impervious cover has more significant effects Hydrology

14 Other values?

15 Benefits of i-Tree Eco Study for Toronto Urban Forestry Provides baseline information and a monitoring framework to inform management of the urban forest. Results support current program direction & priorities. Confirms that 60% of the urban forest is on private property - supports rationale for new policy/programs. Provides an important information platform to continue engaging other operating divisions, Council and the public.

16 Study Elements Peel and York Regions –i-Tree Eco –Digital Land Cover Map –Priority Planting Index –Grow-out Scenarios –i-Tree Hydro Ajax and Pickering –i-Tree Eco –Aerial photo interpretation


18 Canopy Cover and Leaf Area Study AreaCanopy CoverLeaf Area (km 2 )Leaf Area Density Mississauga15 % Brampton11 % Caledon East29 % Bolton17 % Toronto20 % Ajax18 % New York City21 % Table 1: Canopy cover and leaf area metrics for study areas

19 Urban Forest Distribution Text Etc Figure 1: Existing and possible tree canopy in Peel study areas summarized by service delivery areas (SDA)

20 Priority Planting Index Summarized by small geographic unit (SGU) Prioritize areas of high population density and low canopy cover Equitable distribution of ecosystem services Figure 2: Priority planting index in Mississauga summarized by small geographic unit

21 Distribution by Land Use Figure 3: Existing and possible tree canopy in Peel study areas summarized by land use

22 Species Composition - Mississauga Figure 4: Dominant tree species in Mississauga by percent of total leaf area and total number of stems 10 most common species account for 57% percent of all trees 56 % of species are native to Ontario 58 % of all trees are planted

23 Species Composition - Brampton Figure 5: Dominant tree species in Brampton by percent of total leaf area and total number of stems 10 most common species account for 72% percent of all trees 43 % of species are native to Ontario 20 % of all trees are planted

24 Tree Size Figure 6: Diameter class distribution of trees in Peel study areas In Brampton a tree that is 65 cm in diameter stores 10 times more carbon and 75 times more pollution than a tree that is 11 cm in diameter

25 Air Pollution Removal Annual Removal Value: Mississauga: $4.8 million Brampton: $ 3.2 million Bolton: $110,000 Annual sulfur dioxide removal in Mississauga = Annual sulfur dioxide emissions from 19,100 automobiles Annual PM 10 removal in Brampton = Annual PM 10 emissions from 170,700 automobiles Figure 7: Annual air pollution removal by trees in Peel study areas

26 Climate Change Mitigation Carbon storage = 405,000 tonnes or $11.5 million Annual carbon sequestration = 19,050 tonnes or $ 544,000 Annual residential energy savings = $2.4 million Annual carbon emissions avoided = 4,300 tonnes or $128,000 Carbon stored in Mississauga = annual carbon emissions from 167,400 single family homes Carbon stored in Brampton = annual carbon emissions from 116,000 automobiles

27 Next Steps Urban Forest Strategies and Management Plans –Educate and engage –Protect –Maintain –Plant Monitoring and Research –Repeat at 10 year intervals –Evaluate trends –Anticipate future challenges –Pursue partnerships Regional Study –Municipal comparisons –Encourage provincial support

28 Acknowledgments Andy Kenney

29 Meaghan Eastwood Toronto and Region Conservation Authority Ecology Division Rike Burkhardt City of Toronto Urban Forestry

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