Tuesday, June 20, 2023

Langley City's Urban Forest Receives "Poor" Rating. New Plan to Improve Rating.

Trees in a Langley City neighourhood

I'm excited about Langley City's recently launched Urban Forest Management Strategy. Trees provide various services to our communities, such as reducing air pollution, providing shading, lowering temperatures during the summer, providing habit for wildlife, and creating attractive urban areas.

Langley City's Urban Forest Management Strategy will set short- to long-term goals to grow and manage the forest within our ten square kilometres, including on private and public property.

The strategy will have the following outcomes:

  • Understanding the current condition of the urban forest.
  • Addressing current challenges facing the urban forest.
  • Development of a vision for the future.
  • Establishment of objectives and targets.
  • Development of guidelines for the implementation of the strategy.

As a first step, Langley City Council received a report card on the current condition of our urban forest. Langley City has a poor rating on a scale of poor, fair, good, to optimal.

The table following shows the report card criteria.

Criteria Rating
General awareness in the community and across City departments of the value of the urban forest Fair
Cooperation between departments and agencies on Urban Forest management implementation Good
Clear and defensible goal for urban forest canopy cover In Progress
Tree canopy cover relative to established canopy targets Insufficient data
Municipality-wide urban forest management plan In Progress
Municipal green infrastructure asset management Fair
Municipal-wide biodiversity or greenspace network strategy Good
Municipal urban forest management program capacity Fair
Funding levels for relative to expected urban forest management outcomes Fair
City tree planting program and planting targets Fair
Development requirements to plant trees on private land Poor
Streetscape specifications and standards for planting trees Good
Equity in planting program delivery Poor
Forest restoration and native vegetation planting Fair
Stock selection and procurement in cooperation with nurseries Fair
Ecosystem services targeted in tree planting projects and landscaping Fair
Tree inventory Poor
Knowledge of trees on private property In Progress
Natural areas inventory Good
Age diversity in the inventory (size class distribution) Insufficient data
Species diversity (public tree inventory) Insufficient data
Species suitability for local area Insufficient data
Publicly owned tree condition Poor
Maintenance of intensively managed trees Fair
Extreme weather response planning Poor
Tree risk management Poor
Pest and disease management Fair
Waste biomass utilization Fair
Tracking of operational carbon footprints and urban forest carbon-cycle balance Fair
Regulating the protection and replacement of private and public trees Fair
Regulating the conservation of sensitive ecosystems, soils or permeability on private property Good
Internal protocols guiding tree protection or sensitive ecosystem protection Fair
Standards of tree protection and tree care observed during development Fair
Cooperation with utilities on protection of public trees Fair
Citizen involvement and neighbourhood action Fair
Involvement of large private and institutional landholders Fair
Urban forest research Fair
Regional collaboration Fair

We have some work to do, and the Urban Forest Management Strategy will guide that work. The City has a survey about urban forest management you can take and an upcoming open house. Please visit Langley City's website for more information about the survey and open house. City staff expect to complete the Urban Forest Management Strategy in early 2024.

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