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Melbourne maps its metropolitan forests

The city wants to better understand where its trees exist and why and assess what can be done to protect and expand its urban forests.

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Parks and gardens are crucial to Melbourne's status as one of the most livable cities
Parks and gardens are crucial to Melbourne's status as one of the most livable cities

The City of Melbourne is mapping all the trees, shrubs and vegetation across public and private land in the greater metropolitan area, highlighting the areas that have abundant greening and those that have very little.

 

The Living Melbourne: our metropolitan urban forest project, developed by The Nature Conservancy and Resilient Melbourne, aims to help the city better understand where trees exist and why, and what can be done to protect and expand urban forests.

 

Enhancing wellbeing

 

Lord Mayor Sally Capp said the strategy unites local governments and land authorities around the enhancement and protection of urban forests.

 

"Melbourne is renowned for its parks and gardens. A healthy urban forest is crucial to maintaining our status as one of the world’s most livable cities, and enhancing the wellbeing of our residents and visitors," the Lord Mayor said.

 

"Nature doesn’t care about municipal boundaries, which is why it was so important for us to collaborate with Melbourne’s 32 councils, the Victorian Government and other authorities to ensure a consistent approach to protecting and growing our urban forests."

 

Mapping conducted during the strategy development found that Greater Melbourne has 15 per cent total tree canopy cover. Canopy cover is highest in the eastern region (25 per cent), inner south-east region (22 per cent) and lowest in the western region (4 per cent).

"While we are already taking action to boost greening, including planting 3000 climate resilient trees every year, there is so much we can learn from our neighbours while sharing our experiences as well"

The strategy also analysed land surface temperatures to understand where the urban heat island effect had the greatest impact. It found that on average, temperature hot spots occur in areas that have less than three per cent vegetation cover and no tall trees.

 

Chair of the City of Melbourne environment portfolio councillor, Cathy Oke, said the Living Melbourne strategy would help address the impacts of climate change on the environment and people.

 

"Within the City of Melbourne, our vast urban forest of 70,000 trees is under threat from the effects of climate change, such as extreme heat," said Oke.

 

"While we are already taking action to boost greening, including planting 3000 climate resilient trees every year, there is so much we can learn from our neighbours while sharing our experiences as well.

 

"Living Melbourne’s six recommendations for healthy people and nature align closely with our own commitments and strategic framework to take urgent action on climate change."

 

Living Melbourne has been formally endorsed by 41 organisations, including the City of Melbourne. It was compiled over three years by The Nature Conservancy and Resilient Melbourne, an organisation hosted by the City of Melbourne.

 

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