The Social and Economic Values of Canada’s Urban Forests: A National Synthesis
The majority of the world’s population lives in urbanized areas, with a trend toward increasing urbanization and density in cities. As pressure on finite urban forest resources intensifies, appreciation of the benefits that they provide to residents and visitors is growing.
In Canada, the urban forest includes a variety of vegetation and landscape types such as public parks, streetscapes, natural areas and yards, which together form a complex system of urban greenery.
Canada’s urban forests provide its citizens with a range of benefits, which can be expressed using metrics such as monetary values and well-being indices that capture aspects such as human health outcomes and social cohesion. Balancing the costs of managing urban forests with the benefits they generate is essential in order for decision makers to sustain livable urban spaces and quality of life for Canadians. A number of recent Canadian studies and projects have reported on key ecosystem services provided by urban forests, using metrics to assign monetary and other values, to support a business case for investment in urban forest management.