Trees and plants have important benefits for ecosystems and city operations. By absorbing rainfall, vegetation reduces the need for costly stormwater treatment and flood reduction measures. Vegetation improves water quality, controls erosion and stormwater run-off, and protects sensitive urban stream habitats. Green cover offers shade for pedestrians and cyclists and beautifies neighbourhoods. The amount of vegetative cover is a measure of how well the City is doing to reduce its impact on the natural environment.