By completing this brief survey, you will provide valuable input on what your top priorities are for our urban forest, as well as how we should move forward to enhance the existing urban forest and meet the needs of future generations.
An urban forest consists of the trees where we live, work and play and provides many environmental, economic and social benefits to our community. Broadly comprised of urban parks, street trees, landscaped boulevards, public gardens, greenways, wetlands and natural areas, urban forests are dynamic ecosystems that play an important role in our environment: they filter air, water and sunlight, provide shelter to animals and recreational areas for people. They moderate local climate, slowing wind and stormwater, and shading homes and businesses to conserve energy. Urban forests are fundamental to the city of Virginia Beach’s physical beauty, healthy neighborhoods, sustainable development, clean air and water, energy conservation, and economic vitality.
In fiscal year 2010/2011, Virginia Beach released its first State of the Urban Forest report, which provided a strategic framework for the future and showcased quantifiable Urban Tree Canopy (UTC), tree-related community and interdepartmental city communications, and sustainable management practices. The Fiscal Year 2012 State of the Urban Forest report examines current quantification processes, improvements in community and interdepartmental communication, as well as recently implemented management practices.
Technology continues to enable us to efficiently quantify, as well as monitor, our ever-changing urban forest and is a valuable and necessary tool in establishing citywide tree management parameters. Though our watersheds possess similar characteristics, data from our UTC study has enabled us to evaluate the city as a whole and make comparisons between many different geographic areas. The recommended UTC for cities in the Mid-Atlantic Region is 40%, and the UTC in Virginia Beach is 36%. Strategies need to be defined to minimize decline in our current canopy to ensure that it continues to develop into a healthy and viable resources for the future.
The mission of the Virginia Beach Urban Forest Management Plan is to protect and enhance the urban forest through community involvement, proactive maintenance, education, and responsible stewardship of financial resources. The urban forest is an indicator for environmental health, economic prosperity and community cohesion. A sustainable Urban Forest Management Plan is crucial in order for the city to move forward proactively in enhancing the existing urban forest, and to meet the needs of an expanding population. Developing that plan will not only benefit the forest, but also improve the quality of life for generations to come.
If you would like to provide additional feedback, please download and complete the supplemental survey.
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