For the past several years, the City has lost roughly 3,000 Boulevard and Open Space Trees annually. Trees succumb to pests and disease, construction damage, drought, vehicle collisions, storm damage, age, and other external circumstances. Furthermore, in the late 1990s and early 2000s, a drought contributed to a significant loss of total canopy. Roughly 20,000 trees were lost and that loss has yet to be completely replaced.
To help maintain the size of Edmonton’s urban forest, the City replants Boulevard and Open Space Trees through the Tree Replacement Program. Every year, the Inventory and Assessment team assesses the Boulevard and Open Space Trees located on one half of the city. City of Edmonton trees that have died are marked and scheduled for removal. These trees are then scheduled for replacement, generally within two years through the Tree Replacement Program.
In even-numbered years, such as 2022, the west side of the city will be the primary focus for tree replacement, while the trees on the east side of the city will be assessed. In odd-numbered years, the east side of the city will be the primary focus for tree replacement, while the trees on the west side of the city will be assessed. Planting routes on residential and collector boulevards and business improvement areas will be prioritized.
Tree species are selected for a variety of reasons, such as site conditions and proximity to surrounding infrastructure. A tree species may also be selected to help increase the tree species diversity within Edmonton’s urban forest. Tree species diversity is especially important in our changing climate and to reduce the impact of disease and pests.