Urban forests used for dumping

All of this garbage was gathered up on the weekend by a local Hamilton geocaching group, all just from that tiny bit of forest and field that you see in one of the shots.

This is what happens when no one is in charge of the urban forest – it becomes a waste place – and unfortunately there are many places in the city like this. If Hamilton had an urban forest management plan we could support and set up local stewardship groups as we have in Oakville – to keep an eye on these areas, clean them up, care for them etc.


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Ecosystem services – why it’s important

Humankind benefits in a multitude of ways from ecosystems. Collectively, these benefits are becoming known as ecosystem services. Ecosystem services are regularly involved in the provisioning of clean drinking water and the decomposition of wastes. While scientists and environmentalists have discussed ecosystem services implicitly for decades, the ecosystem services concept itself was popularized by the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MA) in the early 2000s.[1] This grouped ecosystem services into four broad categories: provisioning, such as the production of food and water; regulating, such as the control of climate and disease; supporting, such as nutrient cycles and crop pollination; and cultural, such as spiritual and recreational benefits. To help inform decision-makers, many ecosystem services are being assigned economic values.

Read full article at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ecosystem_services

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Newly drafted woodlot protection by-law passed unanimously

We are very pleased to say that on Tuesday August 12, 2014 that the newly drafted woodlot protection by-law we had been working on, and pushing so hard for passed unanimously at the city council planning meeting in Hamilton.

It is a a good first step towards managing our natural assets while we try to strike a balance as our cities develop and grow. 

An article in our local newspaper, The Hamilton Spectator, is here.

Next steps for us are to provide communities with information and opportunities to engage and interact with the beautiful natural treasures that are found in their local neighbourhoods.

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Act now to show support for Hamilton’s new woodlot by-law

Hamilton Needs Its Trees


Here’s how you can help show your support for the new Woodland Conservation Bylaw!

1. Contact the Mayor and your Councilor:






Bob Bratina




Brian McHattie




Jason Farr




Bob Morrow




Sam Merulla




Chad Collins




Tom Jackson




Scott Duvall




Terry Whitehead




Brad Clark








Brenda Johnson




Lloyd Ferguson




Russ Powers




Robert Pasuta




Judi Partridge



2. Request to speak to the Planning Committee or show your support by attending the meeting!

Planning Committee Date: Tuesday, August 12, 2014
Time:  9:30 am
Location: Hamilton City Hall Council Chambers, 2nd Floor
71 Main Street West, Hamilton, Ontario

If you would like to speak to Planning Committee, register with the Clerks Office before AUG 11 by contacting:
Stephanie Paparella Phone: 905-546-2424 Ext.3993
Email: Stephanie.Paparella@hamilton.ca

3. Provide comments on the draft bylaw:

The Draft Woodland Conservation Bylaw (PD02229(d)) can be found here at: Draft Woodland Conservation Bylaw (PD02229(d))

Paper copies of the draft bylaw are available at:
Hamilton City Hall,
71 Main Street West, Hamilton, 5th Floor.

Please send your comments to Cathy Plosz
Email: Catherine.Plosz@hamilton.ca

4. Spread the word within your networks!

Please show your support for the urban woodland bylaw on social media by tweeting #hamOntneedsitstrees and tell your family and friends.

You can connect with us on Twitter @HamOntUrbForest and on Facebook at Hamilton Urban Forest Coalition.

:::::: CLICK FOR PDF of #HamOnt Woodland Flyer::::::


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Hamilton’s Urban Forest Needs Better Protection – by Giuliana Casimirri

Published February 28, 2014 at Raise the Hammer.

As Hamilton, Ontario continues to shake off its sooty industrial reputation and build an ambitious city, exciting initiatives around the city are giving life to palpable changes and real hope. However, creating coexistence with our ‘green infrastructure’ – the trees, urban green spaces, and woodlands within our city boundary – continues to be one of Hamilton’s greatest challenges.

On the urban woodland front in particular, we are definitely losing the battle, in large part because we haven’t even been putting up a fight.

This article highlights the benefits of our urban forest, some of the history of tree protection by-laws (and attempted by-laws!) in Hamilton and a new urban woodland by-law proposal, and describes Hamilton’s forest cover status today and some thoughts on how we might strive to enhance and expand our urban forest.

Hamiltonians should be proud of the provincially significant natural areas and geographical features that they have protected and continue to steward. The Dundas Valley, Cootes Paradise wetland, the expansive Royal Botanical Gardens properties, and the Niagara Escarpment are among some of the area’s greatest assets.

But when it comes to remnant urban woodlands located predominantly on private land, these last patches of forest in our increasingly developed matrix are getting smaller, farther apart and fewer in number.

[Read the FULL ARTICLE with photos  at raisethehammer.org…]

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Before and after of Crerar forest, comparing 2009 and 2013

Here is a comparison of Crerar forest as seen in 2009 and then again on December 30, 2013. They are taken from opposite angles, but you can see quite a difference in the sections that have been cut. Click the photo to see a higher resolution.







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Write your city councillor now, they are set to vote in February 2014

Before and afterCity councillors will consider whether to proceed with public consultation on a newly drafted by-law designed to better protect our urban forests sometime in February 2014 (the official date for this vote has not yet been set).

Please contact your city councillor NOW to show your support for this new by-law. We need to do what we can to protect what remains of our urban forests, for so many very important reasons.

Read through this site to find more information and stories as to why we need to preserve these forests.

The newest by-law draft that will be before the committee in February 2014 can be found here:


Write to your councillor today. Following is a suggested draft:

To: City of Hamilton <councillor>

Re: Protecting Hamilton’s Urban Forests

I am a resident of Hamilton, Ontario, and I have great concern that our current regulations do not sufficiently protect the last remaining urban woodlots in the City of Hamilton.

The current Regional Woodlands by-law is ineffective and the existing tree protection by-laws in Ancaster, Stoney Creek and Dundas are not sufficient to protect important urban woodlands throughout much of the City of Hamilton.

I encourage you to support the proposed new “Woodland Conservation By-law for Private Property Within the Urban Area (City Wide)” and ensure that sufficient resources are allocated to guarantee that it can be implemented and enforced effectively.

Urban woodlands provide countless social and health benefits, and serve important ecological and economic functions and are thus a critical component of our ‘green infrastructure’. Hamilton is a great place to live and work, in part, because of our urban woodlands. Please take action now to protect these important assets.

[Your name]
[Your address]

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Urban forest protection draft bylaw delayed again

By  Matthew Van Dongen


A decade-long effort to better protect Hamilton’s urban forest has been put off again.

A draft bylaw to regulate cutting of “urban woodlands” was tabled Tuesday by the planning committee until next year.

The proposed new rules would require a permit to cut down trees in woodlots of half an acre or larger in the city, but not in rural areas. The bylaw differs from a tree-cutting bylaw for all private property that council shot down in 2009 after years of debate.

Click to read more at The Spectator…

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How ‘Forest Bathing’ Can Heal

And why BC would be wise to better manage its naturally rejuvenating woods.
By John Innes and Farah Shroff, TheTyee.ca

For hundreds of years, people in China, Japan, Korea and other parts of Asia have recognized that wood is not only a critical building material, but that forests provide a number of other benefits. Asian physicians have long recommended walking or being in nature as an important way for people to maintain their health and prevent disease. What does modern research tell us about getting healthier by being in the forest?

The World Health Organization considers health to be a state of complete physical, mental and social wellbeing. This places responsibility for health on a wider range of institutions and people than simply the medical establishment.

A large and rapidly growing body of evidence suggests that people benefit in many ways from being exposed to trees and forests. This research…

Read More at The Tyee.ca…

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Hamilton’s Green Islands Under Threat

by Herman van Barneveld

A Northern Parula sings at the edge of the 3-acre woodlot while my students are measuring the diameter of some labeled Hop-hornbeams, Black Cherry trees, and towering, 150-year old Red Oak trees. The woodlot is called Crerar Forest, just south of the Linc between Wellington and Wentworth. It’s migration season, and a few more warbler species, a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, and a Solitary Vireo join the parula. They seem happy to have found a rare island of green in the midst of an ocean of roofs, streets, and parking lots.

My students love to be out in the bush. It not only breaks the monotony of sitting and listening, but they also feel they are involved in useful information gathering and interpretation as they measure trees which their predecessors measured last year. In this way they gather information about the current growth rates of various species. They really appreciate the opportunity.

I interrupt some students in their work to show them the two young hawks peeking out from the top of the nest which a Red-tailed Hawk pair had fashioned high up in a Sugar Maple. The students’ ‘Cools’ and ‘Wows’ remind me why I took them into the forest in the first place. They beckon other students to come and check it out.

That was last year.

Continue reading

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