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Network Launched to Care for Trees

Network launched to improve the plight of Ontario's threatened urban forests

Tuesday, April 5th ReForest London along with five other groups around the province held events to officially launch the newly created Urban Forest Stewardship Network (UFSN) and their website, The website is designed to facilitate an exchange of ideas, resources and contacts for those community groups and individuals in Ontario interested in improving their local urban forest.

Ontario's urban forests face increasing threat from stresses such as development pressure, climate change and exotic pests. Many trees are coming to the end of their lifespan and adequate planting and care programs are not in place. Most communities in Ontario are experiencing a decline in canopy cover. Without concerted efforts to actively nurture urban forests, we will see a continued decline and loss of quality of life in our communities.




                                            Julie Ryan, ReForest London

The London event, held in Victoria Park, was organized by ReForest London in partnership with the City of London. More than a dozen trees were affixed with"price tags" outlining the value that urban trees provide to local residents. These include intercepting rainfall resulting in reduced storm water runoff, conserving energy by shading homes and businesses and improving air quality by trapping pollution particles that cause breathing problems. These "ecological goods and services" provided by urban forests save municipalities and taxpayers millions of dollars every year in infrastructure and health costs. An average mature tree provides $162,000 in ecological goods and services over a 50 year lifespan.

"Urban forests are an important part of our living green infrastructure," said Julie Ryan, Executive Director, ReForest London. "They are the only type of infrastructure that actually appreciates in value over time. We should be investing much more in their care and protection."

"ReForest London is proud to be part of a growing group of Ontarians who are taking action in their own communities to protect and enhance their urban forests. Trees are valuable resources -- economically, environmentally, and culturally," said Ryan.

"This website is a great resource and network for people to connect with grassroots urban forestry, share stories, be inspired, and act locally to care for trees" added Katie Van Den Berg, Special Projects Coordinator with ReForest London.

Funding for the UFSN was provided to LEAF by Ontario Power Generation through OPG Biodiversity, designed to get Ontarians involved in protecting and conserving biodiversity. The program builds on OPG's commitment to conserving, sustaining and protecting nature and fighting climate change. "Our partnership with LEAF is an effective way for Ontario Power Generation to support efforts to protect and improve urban forests across the province," said Steve Hounsell, Senior Advisor, Sustainable Development. "A significant portion of Ontario's population lives in urban areas. OPG wants to support their efforts to create healthy urban forests and improve biodiversity in the neighbourhoods where they live."

                                                                                             City of London, Urban Forester, Ivan Listar

Coincident events were held across the province in Elora, hosted by Neighbourwoods on the Grand; in Ottawa, hosted by Ottawa Forests and Greenspace Advisory Committee (OFGAC); in Peterborough, hosted by Peterborough Green-Up; in Toronto, hosted by LEAF; in Hamilton, hosted by ReLEAF Hamilton.

"The urban forest is an incredible resource that needs to be actively cared for," concluded Ryan. "By joining the UFSN, citizens can take an active role in ensuring our urban forests will be with us for generations to come."

For More Information about the Urban Forest Stewardship Network