Toronto’s ‘Urban Forest’ Worth $14.2-billion, Report Says

Sourced from the University of Toronto

More than 34 million trees in the Greater Toronto Area providing canopy cover for 26 per cent of its total land area would cost $14.2-billion to replace, a recent report has found.

Forests and parklands have a monetary value and deliver a quantifiable service, according to a report titled “State of the Urban Forest in the Greater Toronto Area,” which was released in June by the Green Infrastructure Ontario Coalition. 

For example, the region’s urban forests store 2.7 million tonnes of carbon worth $70-million, remove $36.5-million worth of air pollution annually and provide energy-saving benefits worth $20-million.

The coalition — which was formed in 2009 and is made up of industry, non-government organizations and municipal groups promoting the adoption and implementation of green infrastructure — compiled the figures from forest studies in the 14 municipalities that make up the GTA. It is part of a growing movement for cities to monitor, manage, conserve and improve their trees and green spaces.

“We have to convince people that nature is an asset and that it provides services,” says Michelle Sawka, an environmental scientist who is project manager of the coalition. “We need to integrate the natural environment into our cities and manage it the same way as [we manage] our roads and pipes.”

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