GUELPH — A tree canopy study commissioned by the city reports that Guelph’s wooded natural areas shrunk by 46 hectares since 2009.
Original estimates of Guelph’s tree canopy in the 2007 Urban Forest Management Plan suggested that Guelph’s tree canopy coverage was 30 per cent, but new estimates suggest the tree canopy is much smaller at roughly 20 per cent.
The 2011 report by Urban Forest Innovations Inc. and Beacon Environmental states that discrepancies in the two studies and loss in wooded natural areas is due to loss of aging canopy, storms, as well as the use of older data sets and different methodologies, which previously assumed 100 per cent canopy coverage for all wooded areas.
“The City of Guelph’s goal is to have the highest tree canopy coverage among comparable communities,” said Guelph Mayor Karen Farbridge, adding that the findings will help the city make decisions on how to maintain and enhance Guelph’s urban forest.
The city hopes to reach 40 per cent canopy coverage by 2020.