Understanding and Assessing Impacts
The primary motivating factor for this program was the recognition in 2010 that the City of Kingston had lost a sizable portion of its urban canopy. While the city could claim a 21% canopy coverage of urban space, a value similar to the rest of Canada, it was deemed that this value was insufficient for the vision that Kingston had for its future. It was quickly recognized that expanding the tree canopy could offer many valuable environmental services, particularly regarding extreme heat events and the urban heat island effect. The Urban Forest Management Plan was not created specifically to counter these effects, but rather was intended as a catch-all plan that incorporated and built upon the many positive attribute of an expanded urban canopy. It should be noted that although the plan did have a broad goal of increasing the urban tree canopy to 30% coverage, the officials in charge of implementing it took great care to examine the specifics of how and where trees should be planted in order to maximize the benefits they provide. For example, trees were specifically planted at bus stops around the city so as to provide shade for people waiting on transit services. This degree of specificity and detail in the planning process helped the Urban Forest Management Plan to achieve the multiple stated goals.