Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Urban Forests

What is a simple action that homeowners can take to reduce stormwater runoff leaving their property? Plant a tree.
 Trees and forests benefit air quality, biodiversity, neighbourhood aesthetics and also play an essential role in managing stormwaterTree canopies reduce stormwater runoff by intercepting, capturing and storing rainfall and releasing water into the atmosphere through evapotranspiration. In urban and suburban settings, a single deciduous tree can intercept between 500-760 gallons (~1,800-2,800 L) per year, while a mature coniferous tree can intercept over 4,000 gallons (~15,000 L) per year (PA Trees). In addition, tree roots and leaf little help promote infiltration of runoff into the soil.

Trees also act as filters, taking up nutrients and contaminants from the ground that may otherwise directly enter natural water bodies, or end up in wastewater treatment plants. As we begin to remove forest canopy and replace it with lawns and impervious surfaces, we immediately have an impact on quality and quantity of stormwater runoff. 
Urban Forests in Halifax Regional Municipality             
In HRM, it is estimated that street trees provide about $2.1 million in stormwater reduction services annually (HRM). HRM is currently developing an Urban Forest Master Plan (UFMP) with the goal of ensuring a sustainable future for our urban forest. The plan contains an overview of the issues and opportunities regarding sustainable urban forest management in HRM. Neighbourhood Factsheets have also been developed that describe the species composition and age distribution of trees found in each neighbourhood, as well as targets for urban forest restoration. Take a look at the draft UFMP and Neighbourhood Factsheets here

No comments:

Post a Comment