Urban Forest Management Plan

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The District is developing an Urban Forest Management Plan to protect, enhance, and maintain the health of West Vancouver's urban forest over the next 15 years.

West Vancouver’s urban forest includes all trees, vegetation, and soil found within parks, along streets, in surrounding forests, and on private property. The urban forest is an asset that provides many important benefits for the health and livability of our community, but it continues to be impacted by climate change and development activities. It is important to develop a strategy that will maintain the health and maximize the benefits of our urban forest over the long term.

While there are many benefits of the urban forest, there are also risks. Key concerns include wildfire, storm damage, slope stability, dead trees, and uprooting of trees. The Urban Forest Management Plan will work with other District policies to fill gaps and make recommendations to address these risks.

The 2022 State of the Urban Forest Report provides a broad overview of the urban forest, the challenges with respect to climate change, and a summary of the District’s current operations for tree management. This background work will help develop an Urban Forest Management Plan to address the challenges, improve the state of the urban forest, and recommend actions and priorities to support the management of the forest for the next 15 years.

We would like your input on the Urban Forest Management Plan’s goals and objectives in the early planning stages so that we can develop a plan that reflects the values of the community. The second phase of engagement will be conducted in fall/winter 2022 to collect feedback on the draft plan prior to finalization and Council consideration.


Objectives of the Urban Forest Management Plan

The Urban Forest Management Plan will establish guidance for District staff to protect and maintain West Vancouver's urban forest ecosystem with the following objectives:

  1. Retain and plant trees on boulevards, parks, environmentally-sensitive areas, municipal, and private lands.
  2. Maintain and / or enhance the current tree canopy cover of the urban forest.
  3. Implement climate change mitigation measures.
  4. Promote and encourage the protection of protected trees as defined under the Tree Bylaw.
  5. Promote the protection of natural ecosystems, including rare species and rare ecosystems.
  6. Increase community understanding of, and support for, the urban forest.
  7. Promote the protection of healthy trees and planting of new trees during development and construction.

Establishing tree canopy cover targets

Looking at tree canopy cover using LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) data is one metric to look at the health and extent of the urban forest over time.



The canopy cover includes the layer of leaves, branches, and tree stems when viewed looking down from above.



With more studies, the District could look at other important metrics such as species diversity and age of the forest.

As part of the Urban Forest Management Plan, West Vancouver will adopt a tree canopy cover target for the future, make recommendations on how to achieve that target, and look at conducting other studies that will provide an indication of forest health.

View larger mapHow is West Vancouver's tree canopy cover changing?

In 2021, the tree canopy cover was 51% of the total developed land area in the District.

The total tree canopy cover has been relatively stable from 2018 to 2021 in most neighbourhoods across the District, however, there was significant loss in the Rodgers Creek neighbourhood where land clearing occurred for development. Significant canopy cover loss was also observed in three existing neighbourhoods primarily as a result of re-development on private land (Westmount, British Properties) and vegetation clearing along the Highway (Sunset Beach).

To learn more about West Vancouver’s tree canopy cover, view the State of the Urban Forest Report (PDF).


Regulating the urban forest in West Vancouver

Urban forest management activities on public and private lands are guided and regulated by several plans, bylaws, policies, and guidelines.

The Tree Bylaw regulates the cutting and removal of protected trees on private land. For further information, view the Tree Bylaw background information.

Some of the key policy gaps that will be covered by the Urban Forest Management Plan include the establishment of more specific targets and benchmarks to support the District’s guiding policies related to urban forest management.

View a complete summary of urban forest management policies (PDF)


Opportunities to share input

The engagement period is now closed. Thank you to those who took the survey, attended a virtual information meeting, or spoke with us at Spring Fest West.

The survey deadline was Monday, May 9 at 4 p.m.

Virtual information meetings included a presentation followed by a feedback and question period. Watch a video of the presentation and read the materials below to learn about what was discussed.

The District is developing an Urban Forest Management Plan to protect, enhance, and maintain the health of West Vancouver's urban forest over the next 15 years.

West Vancouver’s urban forest includes all trees, vegetation, and soil found within parks, along streets, in surrounding forests, and on private property. The urban forest is an asset that provides many important benefits for the health and livability of our community, but it continues to be impacted by climate change and development activities. It is important to develop a strategy that will maintain the health and maximize the benefits of our urban forest over the long term.

While there are many benefits of the urban forest, there are also risks. Key concerns include wildfire, storm damage, slope stability, dead trees, and uprooting of trees. The Urban Forest Management Plan will work with other District policies to fill gaps and make recommendations to address these risks.

The 2022 State of the Urban Forest Report provides a broad overview of the urban forest, the challenges with respect to climate change, and a summary of the District’s current operations for tree management. This background work will help develop an Urban Forest Management Plan to address the challenges, improve the state of the urban forest, and recommend actions and priorities to support the management of the forest for the next 15 years.

We would like your input on the Urban Forest Management Plan’s goals and objectives in the early planning stages so that we can develop a plan that reflects the values of the community. The second phase of engagement will be conducted in fall/winter 2022 to collect feedback on the draft plan prior to finalization and Council consideration.


Objectives of the Urban Forest Management Plan

The Urban Forest Management Plan will establish guidance for District staff to protect and maintain West Vancouver's urban forest ecosystem with the following objectives:

  1. Retain and plant trees on boulevards, parks, environmentally-sensitive areas, municipal, and private lands.
  2. Maintain and / or enhance the current tree canopy cover of the urban forest.
  3. Implement climate change mitigation measures.
  4. Promote and encourage the protection of protected trees as defined under the Tree Bylaw.
  5. Promote the protection of natural ecosystems, including rare species and rare ecosystems.
  6. Increase community understanding of, and support for, the urban forest.
  7. Promote the protection of healthy trees and planting of new trees during development and construction.

Establishing tree canopy cover targets

Looking at tree canopy cover using LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) data is one metric to look at the health and extent of the urban forest over time.



The canopy cover includes the layer of leaves, branches, and tree stems when viewed looking down from above.



With more studies, the District could look at other important metrics such as species diversity and age of the forest.

As part of the Urban Forest Management Plan, West Vancouver will adopt a tree canopy cover target for the future, make recommendations on how to achieve that target, and look at conducting other studies that will provide an indication of forest health.

View larger mapHow is West Vancouver's tree canopy cover changing?

In 2021, the tree canopy cover was 51% of the total developed land area in the District.

The total tree canopy cover has been relatively stable from 2018 to 2021 in most neighbourhoods across the District, however, there was significant loss in the Rodgers Creek neighbourhood where land clearing occurred for development. Significant canopy cover loss was also observed in three existing neighbourhoods primarily as a result of re-development on private land (Westmount, British Properties) and vegetation clearing along the Highway (Sunset Beach).

To learn more about West Vancouver’s tree canopy cover, view the State of the Urban Forest Report (PDF).


Regulating the urban forest in West Vancouver

Urban forest management activities on public and private lands are guided and regulated by several plans, bylaws, policies, and guidelines.

The Tree Bylaw regulates the cutting and removal of protected trees on private land. For further information, view the Tree Bylaw background information.

Some of the key policy gaps that will be covered by the Urban Forest Management Plan include the establishment of more specific targets and benchmarks to support the District’s guiding policies related to urban forest management.

View a complete summary of urban forest management policies (PDF)


Opportunities to share input

The engagement period is now closed. Thank you to those who took the survey, attended a virtual information meeting, or spoke with us at Spring Fest West.

The survey deadline was Monday, May 9 at 4 p.m.

Virtual information meetings included a presentation followed by a feedback and question period. Watch a video of the presentation and read the materials below to learn about what was discussed.

Page last updated: 03 Jun 2022, 11:50 AM