Report: Tree Protection Bylaws in British Columbia

​​An overview of tree bylaws in BC and an assessment of their applicability in the Islands Trust area.

Tree bylaws protecting trees on private property exist in many municipalities throughout BC.  The Gulf Islands, governed by the Islands Trust, lie within BC’s endangered Coastal Douglas-fir (CDF) zone. This zone has been more altered by human activities than any other zone in BC, with almost half of its lands converted for human use and the remainder actively undergoing further conversion. 

The CDF forests includes Garry Oak ecosystems, 24 globally imperilled species, 282 provincially-listed species at risk, and other ecosystems at risk. These habitats are thus of great ecological significance. Protection of CDF ecosystems within the Islands Trust area needs to be prioritized, and tree bylaws are an effective tool for local governments to implement and enforce such efforts.

This report reviews tree protection bylaws that apply to private property in BC where 58 of 162 municipalities have a bylaw in place to regulate tree removal on private lands. The scope of trees protected by these bylaws varies greatly from municipality to municipality. 

This report provides an overview of the main components of municipal tree bylaws in BC and details how differences in various tree bylaw components impact the scope of trees protected. The report also discusses how regional district tree bylaws differ from those in municipalities in BC and how such bylaws could be implemented in the Islands Trust.

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