Trees and Urban Forest

Trees are an integral part of our community’s biodiversity, enhancing neighbourhoods and creating vibrant, livable and sustainable communities.

Trees provide many benefits to cities and the people who live, work and play in them. Victoria’s urban forest is comprised of all trees, shrubs and groundcover on private and public land across the city and the vital living ecosystems of the soils in which they grow.  

There are approximately 150,000 trees across Victoria growing in residential gardens, backyards, parks and on boulevards. Roughly 75 per cent of the urban forest grows on private land and 25 per cent is on land managed by the City. Together these trees make up the urban forest and provide a city-wide canopy cover of nearly 29 per cent. 

Management of Victoria’s urban forest is guided by the City’s Urban Forest Master Plan. This plan identifies 26 recommended actions for the improved management of trees on public and private lands over 50 years.

Tree Cities of the World Award

The City of Victoria is recognized with a Tree Cities of the World award by the Arbor Day Foundation and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. 

The Tree Cities of the World program is an international effort to recognize cities and towns committed to ensuring that their urban forests and trees are properly maintained and sustainably managed.

Learn more: Tree Cities of the World

Priority Actions

Citizen Stewardship
The support and active participation of citizens is crucial to the long-term sustainability of the urban forest. In 2020, the City joined the UN Trees in Cities Challenge to plant 5,000 trees. Join us and become a tree champion with the Trees in Cities Challenge.

New Tree Protection Bylaw
Victoria’s Tree Protection Bylaw applies to trees on private property and protects the trees we have now while helping to grow our urban forest for the future. This bylaw helps ensure our urban forest continues to grow alongside development. It also implements several recommendations in the Urban Forest Master Plan and aligns with leading practices and standards across the region.

Learn more: victoria.ca/treebylaw

Setting Targets
The City will be developing tree canopy targets and acquiring data on ecosystem services delivered by the urban forest. These actions will help to prioritize the tree planting and preservation initiatives in the locations where they are needed most. 

Tree Planting
Neighbourhood tree planting plans will be developed with public input to guide the City’s planting program over the next ten years.

Tree Management
Long-term viability of the urban forest requires consistent attention and support by professional arboriculture staff. The City’s tree management program is focused on the full life-cycle of each tree and efforts to maximize species and age diversity, adapt to our changing climate, minimize maintenance costs and take advantage of the benefits of green infrastructure.

Further Resources