Parkland and Trees

The City of Burlington maintains over 35 parks, 520 acres of parkland, and more than 11,000 trees citywide. The Department of Parks, Recreation, and Waterfront seeks to connect diverse and dynamic public spaces and programs,which grow, inspire, and create inclusive social interaction through land, water, and people.

Condition of City Trees

Monitoring tree condition helps us understand tree health and assess tree maintenance needs across the City.

The City has a young canopy due to loss of Burlington’s predominant species, the elm tree. The arrival of Dutch Elm disease in the 1930s devastated the elm tree population. Almost all of Burlington's 10,000 elm trees died and had to be removed. Since then, the City has worked diligently to replenish the depleted tree population and is now made up of over 11,000 trees.

A certified arborist conducts a field assessment to determine the condition of City trees. 

Tree Diameter Distribution

The diameter of a tree serves as an indicator of tree maturity as well as a rough estimate of age.

The City has a young canopy that will provide greater benefits as the tree population ages and grows.

Tree diameter is taken at chest height in the field. The diameter distribution of an ideal urban forest should have a negatively skewed slope in the one-to-six inch diameter classes. This would indicate a large population of young trees. The slope should then even out through the 31-to-36 inch diameter class. This would indicate a stable middle-aged tree population. Finally, the slope should taper off, indicating the maturing of the urban forest.

Tree Canopy Coverage

Tree canopy provides a myriad of benefits to air quality, water quality, wildlife habitat, human health, economic and energy conservation. These benefits are particularly important as the climate continues to change.

The City's goal is to have the urban tree canopy between 43% and 50%. 

Urban tree canopy is the layer of leaves, branches and stems that cover the ground when viewed from above. It is colleced using remote sensing and aerial flyover. It is calculated using GIS software.