A Street Tree Survival Strategy in Toronto (2011)

The City of Toronto has an extensive network of street trees across its breadth to address issues of pollution, stormwater management and to reduce the urban heat island effect. These trees are vulnerable due to difficult growing conditions. Climate change will exacerbate the challenges faced by street trees and reduce the likelihood that they will reach maturity, when they will produce the greatest environmental benefit.

To protect the trees from the imminent climate change impacts, the City of Toronto has implemented several new planting techniques designed to give the trees adequate room to grow, and improve the likelihood that they will thrive. The case study discusses the features and techniques used in this program as well as the challenges that accompany such an undertaking, and the lessons learned by the City. This information may assist other municipalities in implementing similar programs to protect their urban forest, a key component of many urban climate change adaptation strategies.