- Ontario Urban Forest Council (OUFC)
- Local Enhancement And Appreciation of Forests (LEAF)
- Society for Ecological Restoration, Ontario Chapter (SEROC)
- Reforest London (REF LON)
- Centre for Community Mapping (COMAP)
- University of Toronto, Faculty of Forestry (UofT Forestry)
- University of Waterloo, Computer Systems Group (UW CSG)
- University of Waterloo, Faculty of Environment (UWES)
- Ryerson University, Department of Geography (Ryerson)
The Urban Neighbourhood Forest Collaborative for Ontario (UNFC) proposal will introduce advanced collaborative mapping in conjunction with social network services to provide key application services for urban forest management that are lay accessible and easy to use. The UNFC will apply the power of web-based consumer social network technologies, that prompt connections among individuals who have common interests, to strengthen the social bonds of our environmental communities. These technologies can help build relationships, learning communities and communication among local self-organizing neighbourhood groups of residents, for the purpose of planning and implementing community level environmental projects.
Ontario’s conservation communities work with the living landscape; their learning communities collaborate in place based ecosystem stewardship. Community based projects for the care of the urban landscape can only be coordinated and implemented with reference to the neighbourhood landscape. This proposal offers highly resolute aerial photography, which can be used to locate, publish and search for information authored by neighbourhood environmental groups. By providing these participatory mapping tools, residents will discover new relationships and opportunities for engagement in their neighbourhood projects - across the neighbourhood’s fences. COMAP’s novel collaborative mapping technology enhances capacity for coordination of efforts, social innovation and adaptive management. The UNFC will deploy collaborative geomatics with secure social networking as base services and build three applications to enable citizen volunteers conduct the inventory, monitoring, strategic planning, resourcing, planting and maintenance of municipal neighbourhood tree canopies on private property and for heritage tree identification for protection.
- LEAF Backyard Tree Planting spatial and financial transaction service with related promotional and educational services
- Neighbourwoods © inventory data capture, search, presentation and reporting system; with related promotional and educational services; enabling research and development of 20 year Neighbourwoods © strategic urban forest management systems.
- OUFC Ontario Heritage Tree nomination, evaluation and designation system; with related promotional and educational services.
We plan to work in full transactive community consultation – our organizations supply the vehicle and technical support but it is the citizens and citizen scientists who lead the initiative in our projects. The project will work with existing standards and successful approaches for urban forest management that are currently used in nine neighbourhoods in three municipalities in Ontario. The developed systems will then be applied and tested in neighbourhoods located in seven municipalities: London, Mitchell, Waterloo, Hamilton, Toronto, Peterborough and Ottawa. The resulting work can then be replicated to all municipal neighbourhood communities in Southern Ontario using a common map and web-infrastructure efficiently and at minimal cost.
“Urban forests are very important to our communities. They provide shade and windbreak, reducing our energy consumption for cooling and heating our homes. They protect us from harmful UV rays and provide relief on blistering summer days. They improve our air quality by intercepting and filtering pollutants. They provide essential habitat for urban wildlife and reduce our storm water run-off. They offer us a sense of history, heritage and place. And they provide significant and measurable psychological benefits for urban dwellers. LEAF
Many municipalities are planning enhancement of urban forest canopies for the well documented benefits carbon sequestration, shade, UV protection, building energy use reduction and the calming effect in communities that experience social stress. Significant increases in canopy, such as the 17 to 33 percent canopy increase planned by the City of Toronto, cannot be accomplished without the participation of residents who plant trees in their private properties. We cannot rely solely on our municipal urban forestry sector to provide all of the planting, care and maintenance that is needed to maintain a healthy urban forest. With over 80% of the land in Toronto being privately, owned, successful urban forest stewardship must be actively involve all residents.”
“To develop an effective (strategic) plan, you must have a comprehensive inventory of the trees in your community and some description of the environment in which they are found. Neighbourwoods© is a comprehensive program developed to assist you in collecting the information you need. It is designed to be used by laypersons and requires limited training. While not difficult to implement, Neighbourwoods© provides all the information you need to develop an effective plan. ” Andy Kenny and Danijela Puric-Mladenovic developed the Neighbourwoods© protocol at the University of Toronto and have implemented tree inventories and related planning processes in Mitchell, Kingston, North Bay and parts of Toronto over a twelve year research program.
Ontario Urban Forest Council
"a heritage tree is an outstanding specimen because of its size, form, shape, age, colour, rarity, genetic constitution or other distinctive community landmark; a specimen associated with an historic person, place, event or period; representative of a crop grown by ancestors and their successors that is at risk of disappearing from cultivation; a specimen recognized by members of a community as deserving heritage recognition." (Paul Aird, Professor Emeritus, Faculty of Forestry, University of Toronto)
“Building on the work of individuals and groups, the OUFC has developed a toolkit for use by local communities to identify trees they deem to be worthy of heritage designation. Among the items that appear in the toolkit are nomination and evaluation forms; model tree protection bylaw templates; examples of tree hunts; examples of heritage trees that have been designated and the means of doing so without official protection; resource materials and personnel; tree profiles etc.” Ontario Heritage Tree Alliance, a program of the Ontario Urban Forest Council.