Urban forests are under attack from climate change and development pressures. With more than half the world’s population living in urban areas, cities need urban foresters who can deal with the unique challenges to help build sustainable, green communities.
To meet this growing demand, the faculty of forestry has launched a new bachelor of urban forestry degree program, in collaboration with the school of architecture and landscape architecture.
“Our new urban forestry undergraduate program is the first of its kind in western Canada. It’s been greatly needed for a long while and we’re looking forward to forging new partnerships with professional organizations, municipalities and NGOs in addressing the challenges of urban forestry in a changing climate,” said UBC forestry professor and program director Stephen Sheppard.
Urban forestry students will study various areas such as urban ecology, sustainability planning, human well-being, design and planning of greenspaces, geographic information systems, and governance. The program will feature both local field courses in the Vancouver area, international case studies based on UBC research, and tap into global professional networks.
With the realities of global warming setting in around the world, city leaders are realizing the need to climate-proof their respective cities, turning to urban foresters for help. For example, to help a city combat rising temperatures, an urban forester would work alongside architects, engineers and city crews to devise a plan to buffer a city from the heat. They would advocate for proper tree canopy cover and ensure any new infrastructure built was environmentally sound.
The new degree program will officially launch on September 25 at an evening event.
“We are so proud to be participating in the opening of the new undergraduate program at UBC’s faculty of forestry,” said Michael Rosen, president of Tree Canada. “These future champions of urban forestry are needed to care for the trees where 80 per cent of the population resides.”