(Above: the distinctive acorn of the Burr Oak)
Preservation of the urban forest in Ottawa is part of the official policy for the City of Ottawa, and for good reason. For example, the Champlain Oak forest is an area of biological significance with original mature oaks adjacent to the Ottawa River. There are only about 24 mature oaks remaining in the neighbourhood, which are remnants of the original riparian forest. Further losses of the trees making up this forest would disturb the local environment. These heritage old growth trees are well over 100 years old and provide important ecosystem services in providing shade, cleansing of the air of carbon dioxide and pollutants and biological corridors along the river for native songbirds. As a specialist in plant biodiversity, and resident of Cowley Avenue, I encourage all neighbours to celebrate this heritage and biological wealth, and to continue efforts to preserve native trees in the neighbourhood.
John Thor Arnason, PhD
Professor of Biology
University of Ottawa