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Protecting our Natural Areas and Trees

The City of Mississauga recognizes that increasing the tree canopy and protecting natural areas such as wetlands and meadows contributes to a healthy ecosystem, biodiversity, clean air and clean water. Trees and plants filter the air we breathe and remove carbon dioxide from the air and store it in their wood, leaves and roots, both of which contributes to climate change mitigation.

Our “Urban Forest” which consists of trees, shrubs and understory plants located on public and private lands also contributes to a healthy ecosystem.

Trees and natural areas provide many economic, environmental and health benefits such as: removing air pollutants, storing carbon, lowering temperatures during the summer, reducing stormwater runoff and providing shade.

Mississauga’s Urban Forest provides ecosystem services such as:

  • Storing 14 million tonnes of carbon - valued at $310 million
  • Sequestering 570,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide – valued at $123 million
  • Removing 454 tonnes of air pollution annually – valued at $3.6 million

Continuing to protect, maintain, enhance and expand our natural areas and urban forest requires planting more diverse species of trees and plants which will increase resilience to threats such as invasive pests, pathogens and climate change.

9.3% of the city’s total land area is covered by the Natural Heritage System

The Natural Heritage System is comprised of natural areas (Significant Natural Areas and Natural Green Spaces), Residential Woodlands, Linkages and Special Management Areas.

In 2014, the total area within the Natural Heritage System was 2,731 hectares (6,748 acres). 7.4% of the city’s total land area is covered by natural areas.

Source: City of Mississauga

48% of natural areas are in excellent or good condition.

Natural areas in Mississauga are monitored and ranked excellent, good, fair or poor.

Excellent conditions are when a site has very little disturbance (e.g. no trails, no dumping) and few non-native plant species.

Good conditions are when a site has a moderate amount of disturbance (e.g. trails and trampling are present but not extensive) and an average number of non-native plant species.

Fair conditions are when a site has many disturbances (e.g. trails, dumping) and many non-native plant species.

Poor conditions are when a site has excessive disturbances (e.g. trails, dumping, and extensive trampling) and is predominantly composed of non-native plant species.

19% tree canopy cover in 2014

Mississauga’s tree canopy cover has risen 4% since 2007.

There are 6,788 hectares (16,773 acres) of plantable space available for potential tree planting on both public (69%) and private lands (31%).

Source: City of Mississauga

Managing our Natural Areas and Trees

The City of Mississauga is committed to maintain, grow and enhance natural areas and the Urban Forest through a variety of different management programs and strategies.

Over 295,000 trees have already been planted as part of One Million Trees Mississauga. This program greens Mississauga through tree plantings by City of Mississauga staff, partners and volunteers on public lands. Individuals, community groups, students and organizations contribute to plantings on private lands.

The City of Mississauga enhances natural areas in City parks and green spaces by planting and allowing for regeneration to a natural state. The design for O’Connor Park preserved, enlarged and enhanced the site’s natural features including a wetland area and an open meadow. The plantings for the park include a variety of native trees, shrubs and wildflowers.

The Emerald Ash Borer Active Management Plan was approved by Council in 2012. Through this program the City of Mississauga is treating viable Ash trees and removing and replacing dead or dying city-owned ash trees. To date, 4,642 Ash trees have been treated, 1,277 trees have been replanted and 75 woodlots have been inspected.

Resources/Further Reading