Vancouver, Canada’s Board of Parks and Recreation recently announced it is giving away 250 trees to people living in canopy-deficient areas of the city. The city has the goal of expanding its urban canopy cover from 23% to 30% by the year 2050.
The pilot program – called “Branch Out” – is intended to increase tree cover on private property. These low canopy neighborhoods fall under the VanPlay Equity Initiative Zones – zones that highlight historically underserved areas, so that municipal projects, programs, and resources can be focused geographically – and are defined as areas with less than 15% canopy cover.
Residents of the defined zones are invited to register their interest for a free tree to plant on their property. A selection of plums, figs, spruce, lilac and ginkgo trees are offered, as they are resilient and adaptable species that grow well in Vancouver’s soils. The 250 trees will be delivered in March, when the ground is optimal for planting. Park staff will be available to help recipients choose the ideal spot and offer advice on how to best support trees as they grow.
“Today’s changing climate has created an increasingly challenging environment for people and trees in Vancouver. Planting and caring for trees on their property is one of the most important things a person can do to help support their community and environment through weather extremes; bringing shade in the summer and providing windbreaks in winter,” said Joe McLeod, manager of urban forestry. “Branch Out is a unique opportunity for the community to join us on the journey to increase essential forest canopy and support climate resilience in the city.”