Urban Forest Health Monitoring Program

The Forest Health Monitoring program is a three-year program being conducted for the town by our forestry consultant, BioForest. One third of Oakville’s woodlands are visually assessed annually for signs of pest and disease, with the goal of early detection. Permanent forest health monitoring plots are established in 30 woodlands per year to track changes in forest canopy over time. Canopy photos are taken at each plot, and trial earthworm surveys are conducted at a subsample of these plots to determine level of invasive earthworm activity. Annual reports are produced and delivered to town staff, rating the condition of Oakville’s urban forest, explaining prominent issues or threats to tree health, and management recommendations.

The forest health monitoring plots consist of four blue flags to mark each corner, one white flag to mark plot centre, orange flagging tape tied to corner trees and sometimes tied on trees leading to plot so surveyors can find their way back to the plot. White numbers are spray painted near the base of the trunk to identify trees being measured.

Forest Health Ambassadors

In partnership with its consultant, BioForest Technologies Inc., the Town of Oakville engages residents to help monitor neighbourhood street trees for invasive insects, disease and other issues related to forest health. Learn more about the Forest Health Ambassador program.

Using aerial photography to assess Oakville’s forest health

Researchers at Algoma University, together with the town’s consultant, BioForest Technologies Inc., are using a small Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV or drone) to assess forest health and bird diversity in Oakville’s woodlands, and augment the town’s existing Urban Forest Health Monitoring program. Learn more in the September 9, 2015 news release.

Trail user study

In 2014 the town’s Forestry Section installed infrared trail traffic counters in some woodlands throughout the town as part of a trail user study. The counters track trail traffic so that there is a better understanding of which woodlands are being used more or less by residents. The Woodlands Trail User Study is not part of the 2015 program, but may be reinstated in the spring of 2016.

If you have questions about trail counters, please contact ServiceOakville at 905-845-6601 or serviceoakville@oakville.ca.