Biodiversity

Montréal is a mosaic of terrestrial and aquatic habitats that are home to a rich diversity of plant and wildlife, including several species at risk. A number of these natural environments are located in major parks and ecoterritories, or are associated with large bodies of water surrounding the island. In addition to forming habitats that are essential to Montréal’s biodiversity, these environments provide meaningful ecosystem services as well as recreational and outdoor sports areas that benefit both body and mind. These sites also include neighbourhood parks, all kinds of green spaces, a multitude of street trees, and green roofs that dot Montréal’s landscape while contributing to biodiversity.

Canopy index

Description

A canopy is the vegetation cover formed by trees over a given territory. For the purposes of the index, the ground area covered by a tree’s crown is calculated relative to the total surface area of the land under study.

Perimeter

Montréal Urban Agglomeration

 City of Montréal

Indicator status

The canopy index for the Montréal Urban Agglomeration was 20.3% in 2007 and 20.8% in 2015. However, these two indicators cannot be compared because they were generated using different methods. Eight years separate the two surveys, and the technology used to evaluate the canopy index is changing and becoming more sophisticated over time. It was also determined that the method used in 2007 led to an overstatement in the index, whereas the more accurate, automated method adopted in 2015 leaves less room for interpretation.

Care must be taken when canopy indexes are being analyzed, as they take into account only vegetation measuring 3 metres or more. They therefore do not factor in recent planting efforts. In addition, Montréal is having to contend with the emerald ash borer. The insect attacks all ash species and can devastate a tree within a few years. In Montréal, 20% of public trees on streets or in parks are ash trees.

Public property is estimated to occupy just onethird of the City of Montréal’s territory but accounts for more than 50% of the current canopy. If the canopy index is to increase from 20% (2007 level) to 25% by 2025, collective action is necessary. All cities in the Urban Agglomeration, including the City of Montréal and its 19 boroughs, must play a part in this. It is also crucial for industries, institutions, businesses and homeowners, big and small, to engage in this collective effort.

Objective(s)

  • Increase the canopy cover from 20 to 25% by 2025 (Sustainable Montréal 2016-2020).
  • Plant as many trees as possible on public and private property within the Montréal Urban Agglomeration by 2025, with a focus on sustainability (Sustainable Montréal 2016-2020).

For further information

Sustainable Montréal 2016-2020

Protected areas

Description

The indicator compares the surface area of natural protected environments relative to the total area of the Montréal Urban Agglomeration.

Perimeter

Montréal Urban Agglomeration

 City of Montréal

Indicator status

The initial objective of the Politique de protection et de mise en valeur des milieux naturels, that is, protection of 6% of the Urban Agglomeration’s land territory, was achieved. To date, 6.1% of the territory within the Urban Agglomeration consists of protected areas. Close to 1,487 additional hectares have been protected since the policy was adopted in 2004, for a total of 3,056 hectares. This increase is due to the expansion of existing parks and the creation of new large ones for Montrealers. Montréal wants to continue its efforts and has therefore raised the land environment protection target to 10%.

If the protected areas on the St. Lawrence River and other large bodies of water are factored in, 17.8% of all of the Urban Agglomeration's territory is protected: a figure that is in line with the international target.

Objective(s)

  • In the medium term, increase land protected areas to 10% of the territory (Politique de protection et de mise en valeur des milieux naturels / Schéma d’aménagement et de développement de Montréal / Sustainable Montréal 2016-2020).

For further information

Sustainable Montréal 2016-2020