Habitat function of urban trees: benchmarks for green‐rating systems.
This project targets a major research gap of the recently proposed Sustainable Sites Initiative (SSI), which is a North American “green rating system” for landscapes; scheduled to be released in 2011. Our research will focus on establishing the characteristics of urban
trees that affect their ability to “provision habitat” to urban biodiversity (insects and birds) – which is a major objective of the SSI. Both of the partner companies (The Canada Green Building Council: CaGBC, and the Toronto Region Conservation Authority: TRCA) will
benefit from this research, as both groups have current (TRCA), or future (CaGBC) needs for urban tree habitat data. The TRCA is currently faced with a dilemma over the use of non‐native trees in habitat management on public lands, while the CaBGC will require this same data for the development of the Canadian version of the SSI. The research proposed here will directly address these industry needs.
Dr. Sandy Smith