Natural Heritage and Urban Forest Strategy (NH&UFS)
The City of Mississauga has a long history of natural heritage protection. It continues to evolve with the growing support for the environment and recognition of the importance of preserving our natural heritage.
The Natural Heritage and Urban Forest Strategy (NH&UFS) study, launched in April 2012, is now complete following Council's approval on February 12, 2014. This strategy along with the Urban Forest Management Plan (UFMP), also approved by Council, will guide the management of Mississauga's Natural Heritage System and Urban Forest in the next 20 years and will ensure that they are protected, enhanced, restored and expanded for future generations.
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The following guide explains in simple terms the contents of the Strategy and the UFMP. To access the guide, please click on the icon below: NEW!
While a number of municipalities have undertaken either natural heritage studies or urban forest plans, Mississauga is the first one to purposely develop both as a joint effort. This Strategy is also one of the first to look at natural heritage and urban forest assets from a more holistic perspective in terms of their relationship to other "green" elements in the city, and identify shared opportunities. This integrated approach is useful for effectively addressing natural heritage and urban forest challenges, including common threats and opportunities arising as a result of climate change.
Mississauga's Natural Areas System (also known as its Natural Heritage System) currently covers a total of 2 737 ha (6760 acres), or approximately 9.5 per cent of the City. These natural areas include woodlands, wetlands, watercourses, and valleylands. There are also approximately 2.1 million trees within the City located within and outside of the Natural Areas System. This includes more than 243,000 street trees and hundreds of thousands of additional trees on publicly and privately owned lands. Treed natural areas and trees outside the natural areas in the City are all part of the urban forest, and together cover about 15 per cent of Mississauga.
The Natural Heritage System and the Urban Forest support local biodiversity and provide a wide range of ecological benefits (also known as ecosystem services) to those who live, work and play in the City. These ecosystem services include: air pollution removal, shade, temperature moderation, moderation of storm water flows, support for active living, improved outdoor recreational opportunities, improved mental health and community well-being, higher property values and a more aesthetically pleasing community. All these benefits make substantial contributions to quality of life in this city.