I applaud the Glenora Conservation Association and the City of Edmonton in their ongoing attempts to protect and save Edmonton’s mature tree canopy. It is clear there is a desire to balance the needs of new homeowners, and protect the trees. As the president of Tree Canada, Canada’s only national, not-for-profit dedicated to greening communities, I work with communities, provinces and even the federal government to help create, grow and protect urban forests. Urban forests should be a priority at every level of government. Trees are crucial to human health, and to the health of our communities and planet. They provide shade, Urban forests should be a priority at every level of government.clean the air we breathe, help minimize flooding, sequester carbon and contribute to our physical and mental well-being. Alberta’s urban forests are under attack from more than just infill projects, climate change or the use of street salt in winter. Whether it is the mountain pine beetle attacks in Grande Prairie, flooding and snowstorms in Calgary; the eradication of elms in the Prairies (outside Alberta) from Dutch elm disease; or the destruction of ash trees in Eastern Canada from emerald ash borer, our urban forests are at risk. Dialogue like what is happening between Edmonton city councillors and conservation groups gives me hope that urban forests will be treated like the important resource they are. Tree Canada has been working with the Alberta government and private sector partners for many years. We are optimistic the new Alberta government will consider joining B.C., Ontario and Quebec in introducing legislation to enable municipalities to protect their trees. We look forward to seeing how we can revitalize, protect and nurture Edmonton’s (and Alberta’s) urban forests.
Michael Rosen, President of Tree Canada
First printed in the August 31, 2015 letters to the Edmonton Journal Re: “Protect city’s mature trees, activists urge,” Aug. 19 and is reprinted with the author’s permission.