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But one group of people barely benefited.
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As we celebrate National Tree Day, it's clear we need to take a more strategic approach to maintaining and improving our urban forests.
We've all taken a walk in nature and experienced the relaxing and often regenerating, healing impact it can have on us, right?
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June 7 was Clean Air Day. Part of Canadian Environment Week, this special day aims to drive awareness about air quality. The negative impacts of air pollution on our health are now well-known. In fact, tens of thousands of Canadians suffer from respiratory problems related to and worsened by air pollution.
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Spring is a great time to think about planting a new tree. There are many good reasons: trees provide shade in the summer and wind protection in the winter, which keeps your house warm. The presence of trees can also increase the curb appeal and value of your property.
The hills are indeed alive! Ground-breaking research into trees and plants is revealing that they are much more complex and intelligent than we originally thought. Trees and plants can talk to each other, see, share food and even go to war.
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You have probably bought forest products like lumber for a home reno or notepaper for school supplies and wondered how your purchase affects the forest it came from. You may feel guilty, but you shouldn't if the forest products you buy are harvested sustainably and certified to internationally recognized standards.
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Moving forward, it's clear we need to take a more strategic approach to maintaining and improving our urban forests at both the provincial and federal level in order to combat climate change and air pollution, urbanization and densification, invasive insects and disease, and the cost of green infrastructure maintenance.
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You find yourself breathing more deeply, taking in the sharp scent of pine and the sweet mustiness of leaves returning to dust on the forest floor beneath your feet. For a moment, the quiet is broken only by birdsong -- the notes that signalled the absence of predators nearby to generations of your ancestors -- and your pulse rate slows. Some neglected part of you is home, and you realize you've left your worries somewhere between your front door and this moment. This is the power of nature.
Canada is significantly behind other G7 countries in the value we place on urban forests, especially the U.S., where management of urban forests falls under the responsibility of an individual equivalent to a Canadian deputy minister.
anada is a forest nation. About 35 per cent (or roughly 3.48 million square kilometres) of the country is covered by forest. That's an area larger than the size of India! In fact, Canada's forests are bigger than all but five of the world's countries.
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Ten years ago, World Vision started working with people in Humbo, Ethiopia, to plant trees. The organization funded the project by selling 'carbon offsets' for the roughly 22,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide that those trees mop up each year. Before planting began, the region's mountainous terrain had been severely degraded.
I still wasn't fully prepared for what I experienced during my visit last week. I'm a professional forester and I've seen my fair share of forest fires up close. Still, the vastness of this fire and extent of damage in an urban area was sad, sobering and more than a little eerie.
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Last year, we exported almost $30 million in fresh-cut trees to the United States and another $32.6 million in trees to the rest of the world. When combining the $60+ million that Canadians spent on real trees last year, it all adds up to a $125 million contribution to our rural economy.
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As the president of Tree Canada, an organization that's helped plant more than 80 million trees over the past 20 years, you might expect an argument against cutting down a "live tree," but make no mistake -- you are helping both the environment and the community you live in when you choose a real tree.
Across Canada, towns and cities face a one-two punch: aging infrastructure and the extreme weather climate change brings. Unless we do something, many of our roads, railways, transit lines, bridges, stormwater pipes and other built structures could become obsolete.
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Until 1969, biologists thought mushrooms and other fungi were plants. They're actually more closely related to animals, but with enough differences that they inhabit their own distinct classification. This and more recent findings about these mysterious organisms illustrate how much we have yet to learn about the complexities of the natural world.
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If we disconnect from the natural world, we become disconnected from who we are -- to the detriment of our health and the health of the ecosystems on which our well-being and survival depend. Understanding that we're part of nature and acting on that understanding makes us healthier and happier, and encourages us to care for the natural systems around us.
B.C. is only in the first year of a drought. But already signs of heat stress to some of the trees are unmistakable.
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The first thing I wanted to do on a recent trip to West Hollywood was to seek out the Wisdom Tree. It sounds like something you'd be more likely to stumble upon in San Francisco rather than L.A., but I was fascinated by the story that has transformed this lone tree into a budding tourist attraction.
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When I discovered the German word Waldensemkite -- the feeling of peace that one gets when being alone in the woods -- it made me wonder how real are these experiences? Did this invisible forest mist have an impact on me? As a scientist, I relish the experiment. So for one week, I would spend at least five minutes maximizing the human/tree interface, i.e. tree hugging.
I think back to the ice storm and realize it has killed something I so loved, a sound that soothed me; a sight that reminded me of the freedom nature lends to our lives. How was I to know that with the magnificence of the ice storm, destruction ran ramped in ways I had considered, in ways that would change things forever outside my window, for me and for others?
The changes we have seen more recently in our forests have not been caused by plate tectonics or long term climate cycles, but by me, by you, by us. We have converted almost 50 per cent of our planet's forests into croplands, ranches, plantations, subdivisions and highways.
Written by Mark Stabb, central Ontario program manager for the Nature Conservancy of Canada and contributor to Land Lines (the Nature Conservancy of Canada blog). Canada's forests are home to many col...
Many of us grew up in a time when we finished with a piece of paper, crumpled it up and tossed it into a waste paper basket. Then recycling bins came along. And with it a message of reduce, reuse and recycle. Flash forward to 2013. It's time to revisit the three Rs and add a fourth -- renewable.
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A battle of the sexes is happening in Canada's urban forests and the losers are those with allergies. A study shows the dominance of male trees is making it worse for people who suffer from allergies...
Show someone a photo of a lush forest with a grizzly bear and ask what's in the picture. Most will answer, "a bear." Add a spotted owl to the scene, and the response might become, "a grizzly bear under an owl." What you are unlikely to hear is a description of the flora accompanying the charismatic fauna.
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