Cambridge named ‘Tree City of the World’

Posted on Monday March 01, 2021


Cambridge, Ontario. (March 1st, 2021) – The City of Cambridge has been recognized as a Tree City of the World by Tree Canada, The Arbor Day Foundation, and the United Nations for its continued management of the city’s urban forest. 

Tree Cities of the World is a program founded by The Arbor Day Foundation and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations to recognize cities around the globe that have committed to growing and maintaining their urban forest. Tree Cities of the World aims to create more green spaces in urban areas by recognizing the cities that do it well.

Through this recognition, Cambridge joins seven Ontario municipalities, 15 Canadian cities, and 120 cities from over 20 countries who recognize the importance of trees in building healthy, resilient and happy cities. The city has earned this recognition by meeting five core standards that demonstrates their dedication and determination towards planting and conserving trees for a greener future. The city met these standards through the creation of the Urban Forest Plan, current street tree and other inventories, performance indicators and monitoring reports, tree planting, tree policies and laws, annual budgets, and staff/capacity. 

“We applaud all of the cities that have earned Tree Cities of the World designation,” said Dan Lambe, president, Arbor Day Foundation. “They are leaders when it comes to planning and managing their urban forests. Many of the cities being recognised have gone above and beyond to use trees as part of their green infrastructure. This distinction is a celebration of their creativity and sustainability in creating healthier urban spaces.”

As part of its Urban Forest Plan, the City’s canopy target is 30% and this involves planting thousands of trees over the next 20 years. In addition to the many health benefits, trees contribute to property values, rainwater retention, cooling of the city/energy efficiency, and carbon capture providing $3-$12 million each year in “ecosystem services” to Cambridge.

“We are proud to receive this award and to be recognized for our ongoing commitment to our urban forest,” said Yogesh Shah, Deputy City Manager for the city’s infrastructure services department. “We understand the important role trees play for a healthy and sustainable community for all.” 

The city provides a number of ways residents can get involved in their urban forest, including volunteer tree planting (now deferred to 2022 due to COVID), planting a subsidized tree on their property through the Backyard Tree Program, or checking out their neighborhood and property canopy as well as the type of street tree they have by going to the Tree Canopy website.

Protecting the trees we have today and planting more trees bring many benefits to Cambridge. In partnership with the Region and other area municipalities, the city created a video illustrating the many health benefits of trees.

In April, staff will be providing an update to Council on the progress of the city’s Urban Forest Plan.

Quick facts

  • Cambridge is divided into 38 neighbourhoods for the Urban Forest Plan / Canopy Assessment.  Tree canopies range from 5%-9% in a new subdivision and central industrial area to 35-45% in older residential neighbourhoods with mature trees. 
  • The City’s tree canopy dropped to 25% in 2018; this is down from 27% in 2013 due to losses from the Emerald Ash Borer and other influences.

Additional Resources

  • The City of Cambridge Urban Forest Plan 2015 - 2034
  • Learn more about the City of Cambridge Forestry Division
  • Full listing of cities who received the Tree Cities of the World recognition
  • About the Arbor Day Foundation: Founded in 1972, the Arbor Day Foundation has grown to become the largest non-profit membership organization dedicated to planting trees, with more than one million members, supporters, and valued partners. Since 1972, more than 400 million Arbor Day Foundation trees have been planted in neighborhoods, communities, cities, and forests worldwide. Our vision is to help others understand and use trees to solve many of the global issues we face today, including air quality, water quality, climate change, deforestation, poverty, and hunger.As one of the world's largest operating conservation foundations, the Arbor Day Foundation, through its members, partners, and programs, educates and engages stakeholders and communities worldwide to involve themselves in its mission of planting, nurturing, and celebrating trees. More information is available at