“We will work with Australian cities to set decade by decade goals out to 2050 for increased overall tree coverage,” stated Acting Minister for Cities Greg Hunt. “Green cities — cities with high levels of trees, foliage and green spaces — provide enormous benefits to their residents. Increasing urban canopy coverage decreases heat, which improves health and quality of life.”
Tree Canopy Interception
"We have been investigating the environmental benefits of trees in urban areas, and their role in climate-proofing our cities," reports Professor Roland Ennos, University of Hull
“To determine whether the humble tree really can provide such robust defences, we first need to understand the role they play in soaking up excess rain water. All floods, whether fluvial (when rivers burst their banks) or pluvial (when rainfall overwhelms drainage systems before it reaches rivers), are caused because the rain cannot soak into the soil fast enough. Instead, it runs rapidly over the surface of the land,” wrote Roland Ennos.
“Urban forests contribute greatly to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Urban trees also help us adapt to and cope with climate change impacts by shading communities during periods of extreme heat. The unique, multi-purpose benefits of living, green infrastructure make it an incredibly valuable tool for cities and towns to improve resiliency in the face of climate change,” says David Suzuki.
Tree Canopy Interception of Rainwater Under Interior BC Conditions: Kamloops Research Project Fills Gap in Science-Based Understanding
“This study builds on precedent-setting research in British Columbia, filling gaps in science-based understanding of tree canopy processes and promoting translation of the science to application through tools such as the Tree Canopy Module of the Water Balance Model,” reported Julie Schooling. “The study identified factors that have not previously been analyzed – for example, the role of multiple leaders in a canopy vs. a strong single leader.”
Flashback to 2012: British Columbia Partnership announced that rebuilt “Water Balance Model” incorporates Tree Canopy Module
“Given the huge knowledge bases that the sciences have built up around the hydrology of urban watersheds, it can come as a surprise when we realize how little is known about some of the basics. The urban tree canopy is an example,” stated Dr. Charles Rowney. “This is a technical area where the fundamentals are well understood, but the empirical basis, the availability of actual observations, is still in its infancy.”
“The results showed that urban trees intercept and evapotranspire more rain than trees in forested environments. Together with the delay in runoff trees can act as an effective rainwater management tool on individual properties,” concludes Yeganeh Asadian.
“The aim of the Urban Forest Research Project was to illustrate the importance of urban trees as a form of ‘green infrastructure’ where they reduce rainwater runoff and rainwater intensity. In addition, trees cause a delay in precipitation reaching the ground,” states Dr. Markus Weiler.
According to Dr. Dan Moore, the project purpose is to provide planners, developers and municipal engineers with the tools and research they need to approach rainwater management in a more integrated and sustainable manner. The project results are showcased on a website that will be maintained by UBC. The website provides a complete inventory of the 60 tree canopy climate stations installed across Vancouver’s North Shore.
“The project is precedent-setting, both in terms of the research scope and the coalition of funders. The Province of British Columbia, the Greater Vancouver Regional District, and the Real Estate Foundation of British Columbia funded the project start-up. When the University of British Columbia recently obtained a research grant from the Canadian Water Network, this brought a national focus to the project,” stated Kim Stephens.
Clovelly-Caulfeild in West Vancouver is the first North Shore neighbourhood to step forward and participate in the UBC Tree Canopy Interception Research Project. “The community volunteers are excited to play a part in this project. This on-the-ground research by UBC will inform the neighbourhood planning process by bringing science into the discussion of the role that trees play in the urban environment,” stated Paddy Sherman.