Climate Change and Toronto Trees

Susan Dimitrakopoulos

According to the 2012 city commissioned report on Climate Change by 2050, (Toronto’s Future Weather & Climate Driver Study: Outcomes Report) Toronto is in for, hotter summers, milder winters and more frequent severe weather – in a nutshell.

On the face of it, that doesn’t sound too bad, but it’s going to effect the tree canopy that we’ve all grown to love and cherish.  Climate Change is going to be tough on our trees.Warmer summer weather means that some native species may not adapt and new species may begin taking their places – species not necessarily adapted to a harsh winter (that could still come, even with global warming).  Biodiversity will change – maybe not for the better.  Trees will suffer from increased heat stress involving everything from more smog to increased heat reflected from hard urban surfaces.  People will naturally want to seek out parks and trees in hotter summers, causing greater soil compaction further stressing the trees.

With milder winters we can reasonably expect tree pests to survive the winters – surviving where they would not have before – leading to more frequent pest outbreaks increasing the stress to trees.  Early budding may be met with a cold snap that will kill off the buds, damage the tree and limit it’s chance of success – especially so with younger trees.

With increased extreme weather events there will be increased frequency of flooding, higher wind velocity and increased ice storms, leading to the water logging of soil, more trees being uprooted and ice damage to tree branches.

All of this leads to increased risk of disease and death for the urban forest.

The link below will give you a PDF of a chart I prepared a couple years back to help explain why Friends of Dieppe Park was starting an Adopt-A-Tree program.

Tree Damage Vectors

~ Article courtesy of Ed HornerEd Horner 3



One response to this post.

  1. […] a very special interest in anthropogenic global warming (or AGW)  and how urban parks can be made more resilient in the face of a changing […]


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