Plans to plant 150,000 trees and shrubs form part of the Australian city’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic by creating jobs and enhancing public space, in addition to tackling the climate emergency.
The City of Melbourne is embarking on its largest ever revegetation project with plans to green the city with 150,000 trees and shrubs as part of its response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Lord Mayor Sally Capp explained that as well as create habitat and support biodiversity, it will generate 64 jobs for people who would otherwise be unemployed as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
The Greening the City project is a partnership between City of Melbourne, CityWide and the Victorian Government and will be funded through the Victorian Government’s Working for Victoria initiative.
"We have always appreciated the importance of our parks and gardens to our city and this has been even more evident during the pandemic,” said Capp. “They provide space for people to safely exercise and enjoy some fresh air during lockdown."
Around116,000 tube stocks of native grasses and wildflowers and 30,000 shrubs will be planted. This includes native wildflowers such as Tufted Bluebells and Blushing Bindweed, and grasses such as Kangaroo Grass and Common Wallaby Grass.
"We will plant 1,000 semi-advanced trees and 3,000 tube stock trees. This includes indigenous species such as River Red Gum, Golden Wattle, Coastal Banksia and Yarra Gum – a near threatened species in Victoria. This will be a marvellous investment in a healthier, greener city for coming generations,” added Capp.
Environment portfolio chair councillor Cathy Oke said the project will help to reduce the urban heat island effect with planting trees one of the most effective and simple ways to respond to the climate emergency.
"We have always appreciated the importance of our parks and gardens to our city and this has been even more evident during the pandemic”
"While we respond to Covid-19, we haven’t stopped taking climate action. As these new trees grow they will increase our city’s canopy coverage and help reduce the urban heat island effect by creating more shade, said Oke.
She added: "This project will create 24,000m² of understorey habitat, increasing understorey vegetation in the city by six per cent, in a significant step towards our goal to increase understorey cover by 20 per cent by 2027."
"The 150,000 native plants and trees will provide crucial habitat for our 276 species of birds, mammals, reptiles and frogs – as well as more than 1,500 species of insects.
Locations for the planting will be confirmed shortly and may include important nature reserves such as Royal Park, the Inner Circle Railway Corridor, Dynon Road corridor, Lorimer Street, and Oak Street.
The work will begin this month with the selection and preparation of sites, followed by planting activity and works to protect the trees and plants from pests and diseases as they grow.
This project is in addition to City of Melbourne’s $1.8m annual investment in planting 3,000 semi-advanced trees each year.
"This will make a big contribution towards our target of 40 per cent tree canopy cover on public land by 2040," said Oke.
In the coming weeks, crews working on the annual programme will plant 94 trees on the Maribyrnong River bike path, 14 trees in Fitzroy Gardens to re-establish the historic Hotham Walk Avenue, and plant 80 new trees at Royal Park Golf Course.
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