All about our beautiful trees–how we’re protecting them and what you can do to help

Our urban forest

Preservation of treed spaces throughout our city is a vital part of our identity. Forward-thinking policies, replanting, and year-round care have provided us with an urban forest environment that allows our community and wildlife to thrive.

What we’re doing to help our trees

We’ve developed several initiatives to help protect our urban forest–such as increasing foliage on our boulevards and replacing trees removed during construction work.

How trees contribute to our community

Trees contribute to our city’s livability, health and prosperity. Trees capture and store carbon while producing oxygen. They moderate temperature, cooling our City during hot weather and adsorb vast amounts of stormwater which would otherwise have to be handled by costly infrastructure. They keep our air clean, help mitigate climate change and provide a sanctuary for wildlife.

Is your tree a Protected Tree?

Under the Burnaby Tree Bylaw, a Protected Tree is defined as:

  1. On properties subject to a development application, any tree 20 cm (8 inches) or greater in diameter.
  2. On properties NOT subject to a development application:
    a. Any conifer tree 30 cm (12 inches) or greater in diameter, and
    b. Any deciduous tree 45 cm (18 inches) or greater in diameter.
  3. A Covenanted Tree: is a tree or plant that must be retained or planted per the covenant granted to the City under section 219 of the Land Title Act.
  4. A tree within a streamside protection and enhancement area as defined in Section 6.23 of the Zoning Bylaw.
  5. A tree on a lot designated as Cemetery District (P4) under the Zoning Bylaw.
  6. A tree planted according to a landscaping plan forming part of an approved development application under the Zoning Bylaw or as a condition of subdivision approval.
  7. A Replacement Tree: tree planted as a replacement for a tree that's been cut, removed or damaged.
  8. A Retained Tree: an existing tree that has to be retained and protected during construction.

If a tree meets any of these definitions, it is a Protected Tree and you’ll need a tree cutting permit to remove it. You only have to fill one permit application, even if you wish to remove multiple trees. 

You don't need a permit to remove trees smaller than 30 cm (12 inches) in diameter unless it's a Protected Tree. 

If you're a developer and want to remove multiple trees on City property as part of a project, call 604-297-4500 or email [email protected] for more information. 

Questions and answers

All trees play an important part in our city’s natural habitat, and therefore, we protect every tree.

Conifers retain their leaves year-round, have needle or scale-like leaves and bear cones. Douglas fir and western red cedar are examples of conifer trees. Conifers reduce stormwater runoff and filter air pollution because they keep their leaves year-round. They are larger and have a longer lifespan than deciduous trees. They also provide shelter and wildlife habitat.

Deciduous trees shed their leaves each fall and have flat leaves. Maple and oak are both examples of deciduous trees. These trees have broader leaves that provide great shade in the summer and reduce temperatures in urban areas. When the leaves fall in autumn, they decompose and bring a new flush of nutrients into the soil.

As a property owner in Burnaby, you’re responsible for maintaining all the trees on your property.

Under our Tree Management Policy, the City's Forestry Division manages and maintains all the trees on City property, including boulevard trees.

We provide a full range of arboriculture services for City-owned trees, like inspection, pruning, and planting.

Have questions?

  Phone Email

Trees on private property


[email protected]

Trees on City property / tree service line


[email protected]

Was this page useful?