Breakout Sessions - Thursday, April 18th, 2013


Historical Perspectives on the Urban Forest


Moderator: Peter Johnson, Senior Manager, Environmental Risk, TD Environment, TD Bank Group



John Bacher, Author - “Challenges in Maintaining the Urban Forest Legacy of Edmund Zavitz: The Example of Hamilton’s King Forest Park and the David Dunlap Observatory Forest”


In discussion of the urban forest is Ontario it is neglected how much of a challenge it is simply to maintain the existing forest cover that currently exists from threats of urban development. My paper will examine this problem with reference to two case studies. Both of these involve forests that were planted before the second world war under the direction of Dr. Edmund Zavitz. These are Hamilton’s King Forest Park and the David Dunlap Observatory Forest in Richmond Hill. The magnificent afforestation of the Niagara Escarpment within the City of Hamilton is a neglected achievement in Ontario’s urban parks history. This was undertaken as a result of co-operation between the City of Hamilton Parks Commission and the Department of Forests, then under the direction of its Deputy Minister Edmund Zavitz. Although the achievement’s of afforestation in Hamilton’s King Forest Park remain impressive it was set back through the construction of the Red Hill Creek expressway. One favourable development however, is that this did result in additional afforestation of lands that lined the park which were previously in mowed grass. Environmental groups previously involved in opposing the expressway need to seriously monitor the success of these compensation efforts. The David Dunlap Forest around the former David Dunlap Observatory is a 150 acre urban forest under threat of residential housing development. Some of the forested lands which in the past were proposed for such development here were illegally clear cut, resulting in mandatory replanting under the York Region tree by-law. It is currently proposed that these lands form part of the compensation under a proposed land exchange between the Town of Richmond Hill and a land developer. The paper will stress both the significant impact of past forest creation in urban areas and current threats. It will emphasize how these issues have not generated significant publicity which is essential to a more positive response from government.


John Bacher is a Niagara resident and veteran member of the Preservation of Agricultural Lands Society. He has contributed a number of posts to Niagara At Large on environment and conservation issues. He is the author of the recent book ‘Two Billion Trees and Counting – The Legacy of Edmund Zavitz’.



Philip Van Wassenaer, Principal Consultant, Urban Forest Innovations, Inc. - “Heritage Tree Conservation”


The presentation examines aspects of tree morphology, aging processes, tree survival strategies, co-evolution and micro-ecology associated with aging trees, and the historical/cultural links that heritage/veteran trees provide when retained in our urban forests. The presenter will also briefly explore the management of aging urban trees to balance ecological and historical values with human aesthetics and safety issues.


Philip van Wassenaer, B.Sc. Environmental Sciences, Master of Forest Conservation, is the principal consultant for Urban Forest Innovations, Inc., which specializes in the preservation, enhancement, and management of the urban forest using a research- and science-based approach. He is an ISA Certified Arborist, member of ASCA , a Past President and Director of the Ontario Urban Forest Council from 1998 to 2007 and a 2009 recipient of the ISA True Professionals of Arboriculture Award.



Ricardo Brown-Salazar, SNRE Interdisciplinary Ecology PhD Program, University of Florida - “From Canal Zone to national parks: a historical analysis of the urban forests in Panama City”


Urban forests in Panama City are closely linked to the history of the Panama Canal. The idea of building a canal that will let ships cross from the Pacific Ocean to the Caribbean dates back to 1514, when Vasco Núñez de Balboa became the first known European exploring the route to the Pacific Ocean. In 1524, King Carlos I from Spain suggested the digging of a canal through Panama. In 1881, Ferdinand de Lesseps started building a canal but his project ended in bankruptcy. With the Hay-Bunau-Varilla Treaty, in 1903, the United States got the rights to build the canal receiving also what was called the Canal Zone, an 8 Km strip of land on either side of the canal route in perpetuity. This controversial move made by the French negotiator Bunau-Varilla turned this treaty into a source of conflict for both countries. After the Torrijos-Carter treaty signed in 1977 a 20-year land return process began in 1979 where forest lands from the former Canal Zone were converted to protected areas by Panama. Six protected areas are located in or next to Panama City. Five protected areas are on the former Canal Zone: Ancon Hill Natural Reserve, Metropolitan Natural Park, Soberania National Park, Cruces Trail National Park, and Chagres National Park. The sixth area is the Panama Bay Wetlands Protected Area, a Ramsar site located on the east side of Panama City. During the last decades, these urban forests and their buffer zones have been receiving lot of pressure to change their land use. Numerous conflicts have risen between “developers”, the government, and a growing environmental-oriented local community. A historical analysis of these urban forests, their designation as protected areas, and the conflicts around them is presented.


Ricardo Brown-Salazar attended the forestry program at Escuela Nacional de Ciencias Forestales in Siguatepeque, Honduras, where he received the degree of Dasonomist, then he moved to La Ceiba, Honduras, working as forest consultant pursuing at the same time his Forest Engineer Degree at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Honduras. Upon graduation he was employed on an International Tropical Timber Organization project being in charge of long-term forestry research and the tropical silviculture program. Ricardo moved to Turrialba, Costa Rica where he obtained his M.Sc. in Tropical Forest Management from CATIE. He returned to Panama, his home country, becoming a pioneer on promoting community-based forestry as a tool for forest conservation through sustainable forest management. He has served in a variety of positions at all levels in different Central American countries, from forestry consultant, environmental advocate to the National Forest Service Head position in Panama.



Re-Emerging Urban Forests


Moderator: John McNeil, Manager, Forestry Services, Parks and Open Space, Town of Oakville


Maria Castellano: Post-doctoral researcher at the Environmental Education and PolicyLaboratory of University of São Paulo; Daniel Fonseca de Andrade: Ph.D. candidate at the Environmental Science Post-Graduation Program of the University of Sao Paulo; Marcos Sorrentino: Professor at the Department of Forestry Science, University of São Paulo - “Challenges to participatory environmental public policies: institutional and psychosocial dimensions”


Environmental public policies have an important role in the definition of development projects of a nation, region or community. Social participation in processes concerning their design and implementation is, therefore, paramount, as it displaces society from the role of an object to that of a subject. Such participation implies the co-responsibility throughout the whole process, including the search for sustainability of the public policies’ objectives. However, “participation” faces multidimensional challenges, including those of institutional and collective nature. The objective of this paper is to approach such barriers through the analysis of two participatory public policies initiatives carried out in the state of São Paulo, Brazil, one at state level and the other at municipal level. In the first case institutional barriers were more noticeable. Public servants from different sectors, who were given the task to elaborate and implement collectively such public policy, were not able to dialogue in order to define roles and work collaboratively. Moreover, they found it difficult to communicate to society the participatory spaces constructed by the project. In the second case difficulties arose within the psychosocial ambit, that is, personal relations inside the participatory group. Successful actions or proposals depended on the good relations between actors. There was no preparation for collective work and it was taken for granted that such relations would be established naturally. Both cases indicate the need to create formative processes which incorporate aspects of dialogical political participation oriented to such audiences. The State must be prepared to dialogue with society and vice versa. Also, it must be prepared to promote dialogue internally, among different sectors related to environmental public policies. Finally, there is the need to acknowledge the multidimensionality of participation and inquire into it so that dialogue does not remain in projects’ titles and is not reflected in their practices.


Presenter Bio: Master and Ph.D. in Environmental Science at University of São Paulo (USP), Maria Castellano received the CAPES Thesis Award 2008 in the Interdisciplinary area. She worked at the General Coordination for Environmental Education of the Ministry of Education of Brazil, and at the State Secretariat for the Environment of São Paulo. She develops a research project at postdoctoral level at the Department of Forest Sciences from ESALQ/USP, in the Laboratory of Education and Environmental Policy (Oca), having as its theme the interface between environmental education and education that contributes to more fair relations between human and nonhuman animals. Her main lines of academic practice and research are environmental education, environmental public policies, and more recently human and nonhuman animals relations.



Marianne Rosenbak, Landscape architect, PhD student, Forest & Landscape, Faculty of Life Sciences, University of Copenhagen, Denmark; Dr. Cecil C. Konijnendijk, Professor, Green Space Management Forest & Landscape, Faculty of Life Sciences, University of Copenhagen, Denmark - “Assessing the quality of green space in Danish compact urban environments – revealing unexploited potentials”


Urban densification is becoming increasingly popular in European cities. However critics have questioned the liveability of compact urban developments and expressed their concern about their negative effects on green spaces. Green spaces provide ecosystem services related to e.g. recreation, microclimate regulation and biodiversity conservation, all contributing to a higher liveability in the compact city. As the provision of green space is typically limited in compact areas, the functionality of the provided space is crucial. To investigate the green space quality of compact residential environments four cases were chosen, reflecting areas of typical compact housing in Denmark. These are located in cities dominated by single‐family owner occupied housing – and interestingly enough they all turned out to comprise social housing. This underlines the need for high quality green space, as social housing estates are often inhabited by people with lower income and have a greater share of different social challenges. During the first part of the study a model was developed that could assist with assessing the quality of green space in terms of recreation, biodiversity and environmental functionality, subsequently used to assess the state of these compact areas. Data was collected during summer 2012 and combined an expert and socially‐inclusive approach. The assessment was based on aerial photographs, field registrations and GIS data about e.g. vegetation, activities, type of pavement and management. Recognising the important role of local managers and residents, their preferences were assessed during face‐to‐face interviews. Initial findings indicate many unexploited potentials in relation to green space quality in these particular housing areas. Issues to be dealt with by local planners and management include large paved surfaces, lack of variation in vegetation type and species, and a remarkable lack of larger trees.


Marianne Rosenbak is educated as a landscape architect and employed as a PhD‐student at Forest & Landscape, University of Copenhagen. Her research interests are centred on raising awareness about the importance of green space quality in urban environments and especially in the compact city. Marianne is currently in the final stages of her PhD which focuses on assessment of the quality of green space in compact residential environments. This project includes developing a transdisciplinary assessment model of quality that takes the functionality of environmental, recreational and biodiversity issues into account. The model is used to assess the quality of four compact residential environments in Denmark. Earlier projects have focused on balancing multiple functions of urban green spaces, especially related to the quality of everyday life in the urban setting as well as green space functionality.



Julie Keller and Maria Muszynska, Directors, Urban Nature Consultants - “Invasive Species in Urban Environments: The Necessity of Communication, Collaboration and Planning; a Case Study of Musikbyen, Copenhagen”


This case study demonstrates how a lack of communication, collaboration and strategic planning between relevant stakeholders can exacerbate the spread of Giant Hogweed (Heracleum mantegazzianum) in urban environments. Giant Hogweed is a threat to urban ecologies - it is aggressive, resilient and toxic to humans. This case study deals with a property in Copenhagen overrun with Giant Hogweed. Adjacent to the property is Copenhagen’s largest park and a nature area containing a “Natura 2000” Bird Reserve. There is great potential for the Hogweed to spread to these important recreational areas. Eradicating the Giant Hogweed and preventing the spread of seeds is made especially difficult due to a lack of communication between the Municipality of Copenhagen who owns the property, the residents, the allotment renters, and the contractors hired to eradicate Giant Hogweed. Increased communication prior to and during the strategic planning phase would improve cooperation between stakeholders. Community meetings, volunteer mobilization, and close contact with residents throughout the project would significantly aid in the eradication.


Julie Keller resides in Copenhagen, Denmark. Keller has a Master’s degree in Forest Conservation from the University of Toronto (2006). Keller published an urban forestry management plan for LAP Lambert Academic Publishing (ISBN: 9783844398915) in 2011, and wrote an article for Arboriculture and Urban Forestry (Vol. 38, p. 24-30), which she presented at the CityPLANTastic Conference, Copenhagen University, June 2012.


Maria Muszynska resides in Toronto. Muszynska has a Master’s degree in Landscape Architecture from the University of Toronto (2010), studied Horticulture at the University of Guelph, and completed an Internship at the Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew, London, England.



National Perspectives on Urban Forest Management


Moderator: Paul Aird, Professor Emeritus, Faculty of Forestry, University of Toronto


Paul Aird is Professor Emeritus, Faculty of Forestry, University of Toronto, specializing in forest conservation policy, and the proud author of a book titled Loon Laughter, Ecological Fables and Nature Tales.



Alan James Simson, Reader in Landscape Architecture and Urban Forestry, Leeds Metropolitan University, UK - “The aesthetic and ethical issues associated with designing the urban forest in the plural cities of the Leeds City Region”


The Leeds City Region [LCR] covers an area of some 5000 km2 and includes ten cities and Local Government Authority areas, as well as parts of the rural County of North Yorkshire. It is one of only two areas in the UK to receive full city region status from the UK Government, and is home to over 3 million people of over 140 ethnic and faith origins. About half of the area could be classed as post-industrial, as the original industries of the Industrial revolution have faded away, to be replaced by the newer digital technologies and service industries. The mission of the LCR is “to develop an internationally recognised city region; to raise our economic performance; to spread prosperity across the whole of our city region and to promote a better quality of life for all of those who live and work here”. An integral part of delivering this mission has been the adoption of a green infrastructure strategy [GIS], a strategy that fully recognises that the assets that comprise the green infrastructure, as well as being elements of the regional “natural” landscape, are also those designed landscapes and townscapes that shape the places where people live, love, work and play. It is also recognised that in order to deliver the mission, the LCR green infrastructure strategy must not be seen in simple, two-dimensional, planning terms, but as a three or even four dimensional design tool that has to operate at a wide range of spatial scales. Thus the Strategy incorporates a substantial urban forestry remit, not only to assist in delivering the increasingly recognised benefits that accrue from such an urban forest, but also to add visual structure to the green space of the urban / peri-urban realm. This illustrated presentation will briefly consider the contextual role of the Leeds City Region’s green infrastructure strategy, but will specifically focus upon the main conceptual themes applied to urban forestry in the LCR, namely the social, experiential, functional, economic and the ecological. In addition, it will suggest that although these themes have to be considered as integrated and not separate aspects of design, their interpretation and application will be unique to the specific location, setting, social and cultural context. This is particularly important in the plural and increasingly mixed-ethnic neighbourhoods of many parts of the Leeds City Region, and also questions the sometimes narrow definition of ‘natural green / indigenous species’ approach and its relevance to such neighbourhoods.


Alan Simson is a chartered landscape architect + urban forester. He has gained extensive professional experience in the UK New Towns, private practice and higher education. Currently he is a Reader in Landscape Architecture + Urban Forestry at Leeds Metropolitan University, Director of Research for The Leeds School of Art, Architecture + Design and Director of the INFRA Research Centre. He has led several European urban forestry research projects on behalf of the UK, and is involved in a number of external initiatives/ activities, including being a member of the UK Government’s DEFRA’s Green Infrastructure Partnership, Director of the White Rose Forest, Director of Concourse, the Leeds Architecture Centre and a member of the Quality Places + Spaces Group of the Leeds Chamber of Commerce.


Guntis Brumelis, Faculty of Biology, University of Latvia, Ilze Jankovska and Inga Straupe, Forest Faculty, Latvia University of Agriculture - “Urban forests of Riga, Latvia – pressures, naturalness, attitudes and management”


The urban forest landscape in Europe differs across the fault-lines of political and social cultures. Latvia presents a special case, as perceptions of urban green spaces changed from a period of Germanic dominance, to a developed European Republic, later subdued in the Soviet era, and now to a European country in transition. The human footprint has been relatively moderate, and there is little alienation between people and natural values. In Riga there are 15 large forest tracts, some connected with rural forests and others are isolated remnants of ancient or planted forests. These forest stands have originally been mostly dominated by Scots pine on poor dry soils, with a characteristic feather-moss layer. While recognition of the importance of urban forest ecosystems in resilience of the city is growing, recreational pressure and demands for aesthetical, novel, man-made landscapes are significant. Governance in Latvia almost completely overlooks the complexity of urban forest management and there have been no attempts at integration of ecological, social, aesthetic and recreational functions in all-encompassing landscape planning of Riga’s forests with all relevant stakeholders participating. As a result, the “naturalness” of the forests has been largely shaped by recreation loads and management of forest ecological functions is lacking. We firstly determined recreation loads of the forest stands. Secondly, we used species and plant functional groups to derive indicators to determine extent of ecological degradation of the forests. Thirdly, we applied the Choice Experiment and the econometric conditional logit model to determine public preferences for forest management practices (e.g. retention of deadwood, cutting of understorey, and recreational infrastructure). We examined four types of forest landscapes and found a significant difference in public preferences between them. The results were used to make recommendations for urban forest management in Riga.



James McCulloch, Chief Executive, Nene Park Trust, IFPRA Europe Chair - “Another way? The park trust model in the UK”


As parks departments continue to face major cuts to their budgets, interest is growing in other ways of providing these services. In particular, there is a focus on alternatives, such as the park trust model, that provide a long term and secure future outside of the unpredictable arena of Local Government political control, but retain a high degree of stakeholder involvement. Nene Park Trust is an independent self financing charitable trust that manages Nene Park, which stretches for 10km along the valley of the River Nene in City of Peterborough, 120km north of London. The Trust was established in 1988 with a 999 year lease on the Park and a charitable aim of ‘improving the quality of life for Peterborough residents and visitors through providing quality and accessible open spaces’. Nene Park Trust was the first park trust created in the UK, and was conceived from a strong desire to ensure that the park would be managed, on a long term basis, by a secure and financially stable organisation solely dedicated to this task. Today, the Trust spends over £1.6m a year on managing and maintaining Nene Park. This is entirely self funded through rental income from commercial and park properties, concessions and investments, and is therefore at no cost to the taxpayer. Over the past twenty years, a small number of other park trusts have formed in the UK, most notably at Milton Keynes, but this still remains a model that is yet to have wider adoption. However, the last decade has seen a much wider understanding and appreciation of the importance of green space to health, the economy and communities. This has helped achieve a significant improvement in the condition and management of many green spaces. If this is to be sustained, more radical thinking will be required in terms of the financing and governance of green space to ensure their long term sustainability. The park trust model has the potential to deliver this, and James McCulloch will provide an overview of park trusts in the UK, how to establish such a model, and will highlight the work taking part in Nene Park as an example of what can be achieved.


James McCulloch is Chief Executive of Nene Park Trust, an independent self financing charitable trust that manages a large network of parks and green space in Peterborough (UK). James is currently leading the Trust through a major modernisation and improvement programme through the delivery of 2020, an ambitious ten year strategic plan. Prior to joining the Trust in 2008, James was for six years the Superintendent of Parks and Gardens for the City of London, where his responsibilities included management of over 150 parks and gardens in London, as well as the City’s floral decorations service for State Banquets. James has a wide variety of leadership experience in the parks and landscape profession through a number of roles in the public, private and third sector over the past 15 years, and is a qualified landscape manager and horticulturalist. James has a passion for the outdoors and the important role that exciting and accessible landscapes have in improving quality of life. James is a keen advocate of the trust and non-profit model for parks management and has promoted its importance and benefits through various press articles and through speaking at numerous national, regional, and worldwide park and urban forestry conferences in the UK, USA, Australia, Asia and mainland Europe. In 2011, James was appointed as World Commissioner (UK) by the International Federation of Parks and Recreation Administration, and European Chairman from 2012.

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