From 20 per cent to 25 per cent by 2025.
It’s not just a clever play-on-numbers for the sake of a good headline — this is, in fact, the basis of a very real goal that the City of Montreal has set for itself as part of seeing its long-term Community Sustainable Development Plan through.
To be more specific, these numbers represent the amount with which the City intends to increase its urban tree canopy, and how long it believes it will take to achieve this process. An urban tree canopy (or urban tree cover), commonly defined as the collective area of a city covered by trees as seen from above, is a crucial element in the effort to increase biodiversity, make air cleaner across the city and reduce heat islands in the urban environment.
One of the major partners involved in the City’s efforts is Strathmore, the Montreal-based urban landscaping and integrated grounds management company, which has already contributed an estimate of somewhere between 4,000–5,000 trees to the project since it launched over two years ago.
“We got involved in 2015 through a tender process,” says Stephanie Houle, Director of Municipal Accounts for Strathmore. “We won a small part of the project planned for that year and then, through that, we realized that our ability to manage complex landscape projects could make us far more valuable to the canopy project, so we decided to continue to bid. The project vision was going in the same direction as our values and mission, so it made sense.”
“The emerald ash borer has had a devastating impact on the size and effectiveness of Montreal’s canopy,” Houle explains. “The City introduced a plan to replace the trees that were lost with a diverse number of tree species, which was done to reduce the risk of another epidemic. Strathmore is very proud to be involved with this project since it goes hand in hand with our company’s green plan for environmental sustainability.”
With numerous green spaces and leaders on its side who are dedicated to ensuring sustainable urban development, such as Strathmore, the city still ranks well across North America in terms of the canopy index (the projection of tree cover on the ground). The goal, however, is to just keep making it better and better.
“Strathmore strives to be a leader in the green industry and in the community, and create a better environment for future generations,” Houle says.
“The [canopy] project opened a door for us to work alongside the City of Montreal and that allowed us to participate in larger-scale projects, which goes with our mission of caring for a sustainable environment.”