Benefits of our Urban Forest - why we want to get to 40%

The overall target for city-wide canopy coverage for Toronto is 40%. Urban foresters recommend tree cover for urban areas of between 30% and 40%, to maximize the social, economic and ecological benefits derived from trees


Large canopy trees provide more of the following Benefits.  They:

  • improve air quality by trapping pollution particles that cause breathing problems

  • absorb carbon dioxide and other gases and in return provides us with oxygen

  • reduce household energy consumption for cooling from 10 – 50%

  • reduce air temperature when water evaporates from the leaves

  • intercept rainfall resulting in reduced storm water runoff and improved water quality

  • provide much-needed wildlife habitat

  • reduce noise pollution by acting as a sound barrier

  • can increase property values by up to 30%

Tree Size Matters

  • Large, healthy, long-lived trees provide the greatest structural and functional values
  • The average tree diameter in Toronto is 16.3cm. Only 14% of Toronto’s trees are greater than 30.6cm in diameter
  • The most effective strategy for increasing average tree size and tree canopy is to preserve and manage existing trees in the City
  • The size of a tree and the amount of healthy leaf area equates directly to the benefits provided to the community
  • At 75cm tree in Toronto intercepts ten times more air pollution, can store up to 90 times more carbon and contributes upt to 100 times more leaf area to the City’s tree canopy than a 15cm tree

Every Tree Counts – A Portrait of Toronto’s Urban Forest