U of T recognized for innovation in urban forestry –

The University of Toronto’s Faculty of Forestry was honoured for its innovation in, and commitment to, urban forestry at Canada’s inaugural National Tree Day celebration and award ceremony on Wednesday. The award, which was made of reclaimed local wood, was presented by LEAF (Local Enhancement & Appreciation of Forests) and Tree Canada.

LEAF is a not-for-profit charitable organization that promotes the planting and maintenance of trees in urban areas — such as backyards and schools — and facilitates carbon-offset projects. It was voted Toronto’s Best Activist Organization by NOW Magazine in 2010. In a recent report, the city estimated that two-thirds of the city’s ash trees, approximately 600,000 on private property, will be harmed by the emerald ash borer, an invasive and highly destructive species of beetle. McKay says that such events in urban forests can drastically affect people’s quality of life.

“It’s a crisis, but it’s also an opportunity when people are listening,” she said.

The city’s manager of urban forest renewal, Beth McEwan, is reported to have said that private property owners are responsible for replacing dead trees to maintain “Toronto’s tree canopy.” McKay, though, says that replacing large trees with seedlings takes too long and that they don’t usually survive.

“Planting trees is good but we need to protect what we already have,” she stressed.

U of T recognized for innovation in urban forestry |

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