Mission, BC—A total of 80,000 trees will be planted in the Mission Municipal Forest this year as part of the Forestry Department’s annual silviculture and reforestation program.

“There are very few things that define Mission more than its Municipal Forest,” said Mayor Paul Horn. “We have been shaped by our relationship with the forest surrounding us and these 80,000 new trees are part of a long-standing tradition of stewardship, sustainability and community pride.”

Planting started earlier this spring and will result in a mix of three varieties being added back to the land. These varieties were chosen based on climate-adaptability, history as a native species, and ability to thrive in the ecosystem. This year’s trees are Douglas fir, Western red cedar, and Western white pine.

“The soils and plant life are key indicators to what tree species are best suited to that ecosystem,” said Kelly Cameron, Forest Technologist at the City of Mission. “The Municipal Forest lies within the broader Coastal Western Hemlock ecosystem, where western hemlock, western red cedar, and Douglas-fir thrive. Pre-European contact, these forests were predominately red cedar and Douglas fir.”

While currently sixty percent of the forest is Western hemlock, this species is vulnerable to a dwarf mistletoe disease that can kill these trees over time and spread to smaller hemlock trees located in close proximity. In an effort to return Western red cedar back to the land for continuing Indigenous uses, the City’s planting program is focused on planting cedar on its preferred growing sites.

As part of its climate change adaptation strategy, the Forestry Department is also working with the Province to allow for more inclusion of deciduous tree species in harvest areas as a means to increase diversity and resiliency in future forests.

In addition to planting this year’s trees, the Forestry Department is also inspecting last year’s planting for survival to assess if additional trees are required in those areas. The normal survival rate is around 98%, and even with the heat dome of 2021, the Municipal Forest lost very few trees to drought.

“It is really satisfying to have watched our trees grow over the last 26 years of my career here, and keep our forests healthy and vibrant for future generations,” said Cameron.

Next year’s tree planting efforts are already in motion, with seedlings for the 2023 planting currently growing in a nursery.

Fast facts about Mission Municipal Forest:

  • The City has managed the provincial Tree Farm Licence 26 since 1958.
  • The forest spans 10,900 hectares, of which approximately 80 hectares or 0.7% is harvested annually.
  • Harvest is focused on second growth forests. Old growth forests and future recruitment areas are protected in long term reserves that currently account for about 15% of the forest and will be increased to 20% over the next 5 years.
  • Revenue from forestry has funded many major community projects over the years, including most recently contributing $1,000,000 toward the construction of the Boswyk Centre.

Find out more about the forestry program at the City of Mission in a recent video series.

Photo Caption: A professional tree planter at work in Mission Municipal Forest.

Project Contact
Chris Gruenwald
Director of Forestry
Phone: 604-820-3764
Email: cgruenwald@mission.ca

Media Contact
Taryn Hubbard
Manager, Communications and Public Engagement
Phone: 604-820-3732
Email: thubbard@mission.ca