How a proposed bylaw change could affect Ottawa's trees

By Joanna Laucius, Ottawa Citizen, November 16, 2023

When is a tree considered “distinctive” in Ottawa? As it stands, that depends on where it grows. In the urban part of the city, inside the Greenbelt, any tree with a trunk more than 30 centimetres in diameter at chest height is considered a distinctive tree. A resident or developer with a property of less than a hectare needs a permit to cut down and remove a tree of that size.

...Many of Ottawa’s suburban neighbourhoods are now 50 years or older, where many trees fit into the 30-centimtre category, said Paul Johanis, chair of the Greenspace Alliance of Canada’s Capital. “They deserve to be protected as much as those inside the greenbelt.

...Trees provide biodiversity, food, habitat for animals and shade as well as stormwater retention and absorption, said William van Geest, program co-ordinator with Ecology Ottawa.

It takes a long time to get those benefits if a mature tree is cut down and replaced with a sapling, he said. “The best tree for all of these benefits is one that is already there.”

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