Naturalization

Naturalization

Sustainable care of St. John's parks and open spaces contribute to a healthy, climate resilient livable city for generations to come. The City of St. John’s received federal and provincial funds to make progress in addressing climate change through the naturalization of City-owned land. The project will expand St. John’s urban forest by naturalizing approximately 11 hectares of land, beginning the naturalization process by planting trees. The project’s goal is to restore, protect and enhance areas and features of the natural environment within the City’s parks system through naturalization.

Active naturalization restores areas to more natural conditions using trees, shrubs and flowers that are native to the area. It helps preserve and celebrate the natural environment found in our region. Natural areas within our city, in the era of climate change, are our buffer which will help protect our neighbourhoods and community as a whole from changes in climate, and invasive species, while also providing a home for important pollinators such as bees and butterflies.

In comparison to conventional landscaping, natural landscapes bring ecological, quality of life, environmental and educational benefits from naturalization.

Public Engagement on the naturalization project is open until Friday, Aug. 6, 2021 - we would like to hear from the neighbourhood residents on what considerations we should keep in mind in the process of naturalizing any of these areas:

How can this project reduce our community’s carbon footprint?
Naturalized areas reduce the requirement for turf maintenance, as well as pesticides and fertilizers, which lowers greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs). Did you know that one gas mower running for an hour emits the same amount of greenhouse gases as driving 160 Kms in a car? Additionally, trees and plants sequester carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and transform it into biomass.

The expected net GHGs reduction from just reduced turf maintenance and carbon sequestration is 165 tonnes of Carbon Dioxide (tCO2e). Of this at least 76 tonnes is avoided by reducing turf management practices such as lawn mowing at the planted sites. Approximately 89 tonnes will be captured over the first 20-years of trees being planted. This is equivalent to about 50 passenger vehicles being taken off the road, or 39 home’s energy use for one year.
 


 

Locations
The sites chosen were previously cleared of trees during initial phases of development and either were undeveloped or intentionally left vacant as open space. All sites are on current City-owned land. Trees planted, as part of the naturalization process, in City of St. John’s parks and open spaces are public trees that are protected under the Parks By-law. Some of the sites are listed below.
 
The City’s Urban Forest Management Masterplan identifies the significance of replanting previously cleared and undeveloped sites, including public spaces. Locations were chosen as they are City-owned land that match tree planting criteria and are in the Parks and Open Spaces regular maintenance schedule.
 

Buckmaster Circle
Buckmaster Circle
Wishingwell Park
Wishingwell Park
Caokers Meadow Park
Coakers Meadow Plaza
Quidi Vidi Park
Quidi Vidi Park
Dennis Lawlor Park
Denis Lawlor Park
Mundy Pond Park
Mundy Pond Park
 
Poplar Avenue and Empire Avenue
Poplar Avenue & Empire Avenue
     

  
Trees
This project will begin the naturalization process by planting large stands of primarily native trees in beds, along trails, rest and play areas to promote naturalization of City-land while maximizing tree survival rates and their carbon storage potential. With more than 2,000 trees to be planted, this project will expand St. John's urban forest. The species of trees that will be planted through this project include larch, white spruce, white birch, American mountain ash, pine, willow, trembling aspen, red maple.

Funding
Funding for this $106,163 project is cost-shared by three levels of government with the Government of Canada contributing 40% through the Low Carbon Economy Leadership Fund, the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador contributing 33% through the Climate Change Challenge Fund and the remaining 27% provided by the City of St. John’s.

This project supports the City’s Corporate Climate Plan, which aims to reduce the City’s corporate GHG emissions to achieve net-zero by 2050 at the latest.