Urban Forest and Invasive Species Management
The urban forest consists of trees and treed ecosystems throughout the City that help to protect ecosystems and human health in numerous ways. Trees:
- Provide food and shelter for wildlife
- Remove air pollution
- Producing oxygen
- Remove carbon dioxide from the air and storing it as biomass (helping to mitigate climate change)
- Stabilize soils on steep slopes
- Provide cooling shade over streams, important for fish such as salmon
- Act as a buffer and protection from extreme weather (wind, heat waves)
- Reduce energy demand in buildings
- Provide aesthetic and spiritually uplifting environments
The City of Burnaby has preserved nearly 25% of its land base as park and protected areas, much of which is forested. Trees are protected, planted and managed on public and private lands through a number of policies and initiatives, including:
- The Tree Bylaw outlines requirements for obtaining a tree cutting permit. Read our Trees Brochure for an explanation of this bylaw and the requirements:
- Tree Cutting Permits (No Development)
- Tree Cutting Permits (Development)
- Sites subject to Subdivision and Rezoning must include provisions for tree retention and replacement in a landscape plan
- Guidelines for Rezoning and Subdivision on Forested Sites ensures bird nesting areas and other environmentally sensitive areas are identified on plans and protected prior to site clearing
- The City’s Forestry Program, managed by the Parks Department, is responsible for maintenance and planting trees on public lands including parks and street boulevards
Invasive species are exotic or non-native plants or animals that adversely affect local habitats and also have economic, environmental and social impacts. Due to their aggressive growth habits, many invasive species affect treed areas, and in some cases prevent regeneration of the native forest ecosystems. The City of Burnaby has various environmental policies and regulations related to the control and management of invasive plants on public and private lands, including:
- The Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Policy and Program, adopted in 1994, outlines an ecological approach for controlling pests (primarily targeting invasive plants), including minimizing the use of pesticides. IPM is defined in the Policy as per the Ministry of Environment:
“Integrated pest management or IPM is an ecological approach to suppressing pest populations in which all necessary techniques are consolidated in a unified program, so that pests are kept at acceptable levels in effective, economical and environmentally safe ways. Because pest problems are often symptomatic of ecological imbalances, the goal is to attempt to plan and manage ecosystems to prevent organisms from becoming pests.”
The principles of this policy have subsequently been incorporated into City operations and development approvals.
- The Pesticide Use Control Bylaw, enacted in 2008, prohibits the use of pesticides for cosmetic purposes on public and private lands. Prior to this regulation, since 1988, the City had a City Council ban on the use of chemical pesticides in public areas (excluding golf courses, greenhouses and select sites).
- A number of ecosystem restoration and enhancement projects have been undertaken together with redevelopment and new development, in various zoning districts and public lands, and have included the long term control and management of invasive species, and replanting of suitable native species.
- The City reviews landscaping plans for new developments to ensure that known invasive species are not included among the proposed plants.
- Through the Environmental Review Committee, the City may require the removal and long term control of invasive plants in riparian (streamside) areas, as part of an ecological enhancement plan, as a condition for the relaxation of setbacks for streamside protection and enhancement where appropriate.
- The City shares information and collaborates with regional and provincial invasive plant agencies, to further the research and development of measures to manage invasive species.
- The City also has a number of ongoing Invasive Species Control Programs, including initiatives on public lands, and outreach and education for Burnaby residents.