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Melbourne maps its urban forests

The Living Melbourne: our metropolitan urban forests project, which is developed by The Nature conservancy and Resilient Melbourne, aims to help the city understand its nature in order to protect and expand its urban forests.

Lord Mayor Sally Capp said that the strategy brings together land authorities and governments to work collaboratively to enhance and protect 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 lovable cities, and enhancing the wellbeing of our residents and visitors,” said the Lord Mayor.

She added, “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 urban forests.”

During the strategy development, mapping was conducted which found that Greater Melbourne had 15 per cent total tree canopy cover. The eastern region had the highest canopy cover which was at 25 per cent, followed by the inner south-east region which was 22 per cent and the lowest being in the western region at just 4 per cent.

Also, in order to better understand which area experienced the most prominent urban heat island effect, the strategy found that areas that had less than 3 per cent vegetation cover and a lack of tall trees, experienced the hottest temperatures.

“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. 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 neighbors while sharing our experiences as well,” said the Chair of City of Melbourne environment portfolio councilor, Cathy Oke.

The Living Melbourne strategy would help address the consequences of climate change on both people and the environment.

“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.”