The Benefits of the Urban Forest & Green Spaces
Urban forest refers to the trees and all vegetation within any given area. Trees are the focus of urban forest programs specifically large specimens as they provide the greatest benefits.
There are many benefits to trees and green spaces. Trees provide cooling from shade and lower local temperatures through a process called Evapotranspiration. These cooling benefits can help reduce our energy demands and ultimately our utility bills.
Tree lined streets not only improve the liveability aspects of neighbourhoods such as providing shaded spaces for walking and parking your car, but also help build Climate Change resilience in our community. For more information regarding the benefits of trees visit the 202020 Vision website.
The Urban Forest Strategic Plan
One of the ways in which Local Governments, nationally and internationally, are building climate change resilience is through the retention and expansion of the urban forest. The City of Melville adopted the Urban Forest Strategic Plan 2017-2036, Part A: City Controlled Land. The Plan outlines actions that will increase tree coverage and green spaces in public areas for the benefit of everyone.
Our Urban Forest and Community Expectations
The City of Melville has a diverse population and everyone has their own perspective on trees. Some people inherently love trees and appreciate their beauty and the ecosystem services they provide. At the other end of the spectrum are individuals that have irrational fears of trees, particularly limb drop or those that simply find trees messy or annoying.
When managing urban forests it is important to remember that the needs of the broader community have to be prioritised over the desires of a few individuals.
Trees on Private Land
The City encourages residents that are developing their land to consider designs that allow for the retention of large established trees; include passive cooling and heating features; and allow space for tree installation following development.
You can assist the City in growing the urban forest by requesting a free verge tree for your property or by participating in the City’s free native plant give away. For more information contact the City on 9364 0666.
The City is responsible for planting, pruning, replacing and maintaining Council Verge Trees. The City's street trees are one of our most important assets.
For more information visit Street Trees. To lodge an online request for a free new street tree request here.
The Urban Heat Island Effect
The Urban Heat Island (UHI) effect is a worldwide phenomenon that is caused by an increase in hard surfaces typical of cities, such as concrete and roads trapping and retaining heat. The UHI effect results in city areas being significantly hotter than surrounding rural areas, especially at night. In rural or well vegetated areas, the heat dissipates easily at night allowing for respite from the heat. In urban areas the stored heat is released slowly throughout the night resulting in the overnight minimum temperature remaining relatively high. These high temperatures have a damaging impact on all living organisms such as humans and trees
The UHI effect is being exacerbated by climate change. Trees and the cooling benefits they provide are the most economically viable method of mitigating the UHI effect. As heatwaves kill more Australians than the sum of all other natural disasters, building climate change resilience within our community is of utmost importance.
Tree Succession Program
Tree succession refers to the replacement of trees that have come to the end of their life span. Tree succession could be as simple as planting a young tree next to an aging tree to enable the young tree to grow to a substantial height before the post mature tree falls or has to be removed for safety reasons. If space is limited, tree succession may require the removal of the non performing tree to be replaced with a young tree which has the potential to grow to provide the full suite of benefits provided by mature trees.
There comes a time when the costs of managing post mature trees is greater than the benefits derived from the tree. Although the removal of declining trees can be a disturbing experience for some people, in time the new tree will grow to provide the full range of benefits derived from trees for future generations.
Why does my tree have to be removed and replaced? Can I choose the tree species for my new verge planting?
If your tree has been selected for removal and replacement under the City's tree succession program it has been assessed as dead or in decline by a qualified arboriculturalist. It is important that the City removes and replaces these trees as soon as possible to ensure that the new tree has time to grow and provide the full suite of benefits that trees provide the community, including building climate change. For further information contact the City’s Urban Forest Education and Engagement Officer on 9364 0308 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Many birds use my verge tree. Do I have to have it removed even if it is dying?
Some streets may have the choice of 2 species that have been preselected for their ability to survive in a drying climate. If your street is themed, such as the Jacarandas of Applecross, then your verge will be planted with that species. For further information contact the City’s Urban Forest Education and Engagement Officer on 9364 0308 or email@example.com
If you feel that your verge tree has wildlife habitat value and are prepared to have a young tree planted adjacent your current tree please contact the City’s Urban Forest Education and Engagement Officer on 9364 0308 or firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss your options. Please note that any tree that has been deemed unsafe will be removed.
Tree Expansion Program
Climate change adaption and the mitigation of the Urban Heat Island (UHI) effect have become a strong focus for local governments. As trees are the most economically viable method of mitigating extreme heat in an urban environment, the City will be planting trees on all City managed land, including residential verges.
This program will continue to be until all vacant verges are planted. By staging our tree plantings we will improve the age diversity of our urban forest. The City will also be trialling new trees to ensure we have a species diverse and healthy urban forest.
Not only does the Tree Expansion program result in a fairer distribution of the benefits derived by City trees, this also reinforces the idea that we all have a shared responsibility to build climate change resilience for current and future generations.