Urgency around climate action is building rapidly around the world and professionals in the field of urban forestry are beginning to look at not only how the urban forest can help mitigate climate change, but also how it can best adapt in the coming decades knowing that significant changes in climate are now a certainty. In the Vancouver area the current climate modelling indicates that dramatic growing condition changes can be expected by 2050 with more than twice as many summer days warmer than 250 C and a 20% decrease in summer precipitation. Here in British Columbia, Metro Vancouver (MV) is a federation of 21 member municipalities and one Treaty First Nation that includes more than half of British Columbia’s 5 million residents. MV has been working with its members since 2015 on a regional Urban Forest Climate Adaptation Initiative. Through this process a regional Urban Forest Climate Adaptation Framework has been developed along with a suite of planning tools including a Design Guidebook and a Tree Species Selection Database. This is a good example of how collaborative urban forest planning on a regional scale can be effective and cost efficient, avoiding unnecessary duplication of efforts by individual municipalities while working on a scale that recognizes the regional nature of climate change impacts. Individual MV members can now move forward with the planning and management of their respective urban forests armed with these valuable tools.
Bachelor of Urban Forestry Program
The Bachelor of Urban Forestry program (BUF) at the University of British Columbia (UBC) continues to grow and now enrolls more than 220 undergraduates. This past year saw significant changes in the program with some faculty additions, new courses, and curriculum changes. Susan Day, formerly with the urban forestry program at Virginia Tech, joined UBC in January 2019 as the BUF program director. New faculty hires in 2019 also included Lorien Nesbitt as an assistant professor specializing in green equity and Andrew Almas, formerly at University of Toronto, as a lecturer. As program director, Susan is looking forward to continuing to build relationships with the professional community here in the Pacific Region.
By connecting public and private urban forestry practitioners and regional professional organizations, including the Association of BC Forest Professionals and the Pacific Northwest Chapter of the International Society of Arboriculture, with the Bachelor of Urban Forestry program, many opportunities for collaboration have been realized and will continue to be explored in the Pacific Region as we move forward collectively.