Urban Forest

Our extensive canopy of trees is a key feature making Victoria the City of Gardens.

The City’s urban forest is composed of approximately 150,000 trees. At present, the City directly manages roughly one-quarter (32,950) of the urban forest inventory. The other three-quarters consists of trees on private land. 

The City’s Urban Forest Master Plan provides guidance on the long-term management and enhancement of the urban forest. We are currently implementing the plan’s 26 recommendations relating to trees on public and private lands which were developed following extensive consultation with community members, staff and industry experts.

Benefits of the urban forest

The urban forest provides numerous benefits including the cooling and beautification of our City, flood mitigation, removal of pollutants, provision of habitat for wildlife and connection of people to nature in addition to assisting the City to adapt to the impacts of climate change. Click on the image to enlarge.  

  • The trees and the soil in parks and private yards can act as carbon sinks in urban areas
  • Stormwater and flood mitigation are essential services provided by urban forests and green space because they store and soak up water from rain
  • Research has found that city blocks with 40% or greater canopy cover get the most cooling benefit on a hot day. That can be lifesaving when we consider the impact of past heatwaves on personal health.
  • In terms of social benefits, trails and greenspaces provide opportunities for people to interact and socialize, which can strengthen community
  • People in communities with abundant greenspace generally enjoy better health and are more physically active. Exposure to nearby nature can reduce stress and the severity of depression and even lead to shorter hospitalization time.
  • Research on the influence of urban forests on local economies has shown that shoppers will spend more time in retail areas with high quality trees and that commercial rental rates are higher when there are high quality landscapes
  • Urban forests provide habitat for our forest-dependent native flora and fauna

The priorities of the Urban Forest Master Plan include: 

  1. Tree Protection

    On November 21, 2019 City Council adopted amendments to the Tree Preservation Bylaw aimed at protecting and enhancing the urban forest. The bylaw amendments include adjustments to the protected tree size, fees, inspection requirements and replacement trees.  Many of these changes are closely aligned with the content of similar bylaws in neighbouring communities. Learn more about the Tree Preservation Bylaw.


  2. Trees in Cities Challenge

    Planting more trees in urban areas holds a considerable potential to tackle effects of climate change. The United Nations has invited mayors around the world to join the Trees in Cities Challenge by making a pledge to plant trees in their city.

    As part of this initiative, the City of Victoria will work with the community to plant 5,000 trees on public and private land by the end of 2020. Victoria is the first city in Canada to join the pledge.  Learn more about the Trees in Cities Challenge.