Tree talk at Windsor Park

Urban forest preservation on the agenda in Oak Bay

Most tree loss across Greater Victoria is on private property, leaving a role for landowners to preserve  urban forest.

With that in mind, Oak Bay Parks and Recreation, Habitat Acquisition Trust and Friends of Uplands Park host the Urban Forest Symposium, slated for Nov. 3 in Oak Bay.

“The focus is the work Adam Taylor (of Habitat Acquisition Trust) has done,” said Chris Hyde-Lay, manager of Park Services for Oak Bay. “It’s an overview of the challenges the whole region has on loss of canopy with development … a discussion on how we’re going to cross those bridges.”

With its Urban Forest Stewardship Initiative, Habitat Acquisition Trust completed land cover mapping of Greater Victoria. It shows significant tree loss between 2005 and 2011.

“We have a great host of expert speakers,” said Hyde-Lay. Those include Taylor, executive director of HAT, Ron Carter, certified arborist, educator and professional tree and landscape consultant, Matt Fairbarns, regional biologist, and Jill Robinson, stewardship co-ordinator with HAT.

The session will cover how trees benefit the community, property values and how landowners can support the urban forest. Speakers will also define urban forest, discuss the state of our region and outline natural areas and how they relate to urban forests.

Margaret Lidkea leads many volunteers on invasive plant pulls each year in ongoing work on public urban forest lands with Friends of Uplands Park.

“Volunteering is huge,” Lidkea said. “With natural areas there is no way any municipality is going to be able to afford to manage wild areas.”

The Urban Forest Symposium is Nov. 3 from 7 to 9 p.m. at Windsor Pavilion, 2451 Windsor Rd.