Protecting Surrey's Urban Forest
Learn about the City of Surrey's commitment to protecting its urban forest.
Trees provide many benefits for people and wildlife in both urban and suburban settings:
- Trees filter air pollution and water contaminants, while improving air and water quality.
- Trees prevent soil erosion and reduce the impacts of stormwater flooding
- Trees help minimize the urban heat island effect by cooling and providing shade in built up areas.
Surrey takes pride in its rich biodiversity, including natural areas such as forests, meadows and wetlands. The City is committed to ensuring Surrey stays and grows into an even greener city.
Tree Protection Bylaw
The Tree Protection Bylaw in Surrey reduces the number of trees removed, killed, cut or damaged, by improved protection and replanting requirements.
Tree removal permits are required to cut down trees on private properties and require that 2 trees are planted for every 1 permit-sized tree removed. Fines for removing a tree can be up to $20,000.
Within the Sustainability Charter, steps are in place to monitor the impact of climate change on the health and resilience of Surrey’s wildlife and habitat areas and increases tree canopy coverage across the City of Surrey. One the many goals in Surrey’s Sustainability Charter is to increase tree canopy coverage across the city.
View the Sustainability Dashboard to see how many trees Surrey planted last year.
Shade Tree Management Plan
Surrey’s shade trees in parks and along streets contribute to the livability of our City. Our Shade Tree Management Plan provides a blueprint for the planning, design, development and maintenance of these important community assets, protecting them for the health and enjoyment of generations to come.
Surrey is well intentioned in developing an urban forest that results in neighbourhoods, streets and parks that are adorned with beautiful trees that provide an array of benefits.
The 4 goals of the Shade Tree Management Plan are:
- Protect, enhance and increase the number of the City's shade trees.
- Manage the City's shade trees to meet conservation goals as set in the Sustainability Charter, Climate Adaption Strategy and Biodiversity Conservation Strategy.
- Develop and maintain strong community engagement, stewardship and education programs that support for the City's shade trees.
- Carry out best management practices for shade tree health and risk management in the interest of public safety and public health benefits.
For more details, see the full Shade Tree Management Plan.
Natural Areas Management Plan
Surrey is a leader in the management of park natural areas. The Natural Areas Management Plan provides strategic direction for the management of forests, meadows and other natural areas in Surrey’s parks.
The Natural Areas Management Plan includes the following strategies:
- Vegetation Management Strategy
- Fauna Management Strategy
- Access and Recreation Management Strategy
- Tree Hazard Management Strategy
- Fire Management Strategy
- Coarse Woody Debris Management Strategy
- Yard Waste and Refuse Management Strategy
For details, read the Natural Area Management Plan Overview.
Biodiversity Conservation Strategy
Surrey’s biodiversity is a key foundation of a healthy, livable and sustainable City. The goal of the Biodiversity Conservation Strategy is to preserve, protect, and enhance Surrey’s biodiversity in the long-term by:
- Identifying and quantifying current biodiversity and habitat resources in the City;
- Prioritizing options and establishing management criteria for the Green Infrastructure Network ("GIN");
- Specifying management criteria and strategies for urban ecosystems and habitat elements;
- Setting conservation targets for natural areas and indicator species;
- Recommending policy and procedures that will support the initiatives in the Strategy; and
- Providing a long term monitoring program that builds on management objectives, criteria and indicators to measure the success of the strategy.
Surrey also depends on residents to help care for the trees on their property and in their neighbourhoods. Proper tree care is very important to improve and maintain the health of our trees for years to come.
- Avoid tree topping when pruning your trees.Topping is dangerous and lead to the death of your tree. Learn more about pruning your trees.
- Plant the right tree. Not every tree is right for every location. Take care to choose healthy and appropriate trees for your property.
- Street trees need water too! Water your street trees regularly during the summer to keep them healthy and lush. Watering street trees during Stage 2 Watering Restrictions is permitted when using a hand-held, spring-loaded shutoff nozzle.
Not sure of what kind of care your private property tree needs? Consult a certified arborist or other trusted source, like the International Society of Arboriculture . If you're looking to remove a tree, refer to our Tree Cutting Permit guidelines.
Not sure of what kind of care your City-planted street tree needs? Call us at 604-501-5050, or make a request to speak to an arborist.