Urban Forest Plan Progresses

The first of three parts of an Urban Forest Strategic Plan was endorsed by City of Melville councillors last night, approving the draft plan to proceed to a public consultation phase, leading the way for the City to protect the community’s natural asset.

Part A of the Urban Forest Strategic Plan deals specifically with City controlled land, and progresses the City’s commitment to mitigate climate change following the introduction of Policy No. CP- 102 - Urban Forest and Green Space Policy in 2016.

Developed with significant input from an urban forest community reference group, the group collectively defined that “the purpose of the urban forest is in providing a healthy and peaceful environment which nurtures the wellbeing of all natural and human communities to reside within it.”

The community reference group collectively defined that “the purpose of the urban forest is in providing a healthy and peaceful environment which nurtures the wellbeing of all natural and human communities to reside within it.”

Parts B & C will later be developed for Private Land and Green Spaces.

City of Melville Mayor Russell Aubrey said the draft Plan was an important step towards ensuring the City would have a long term approach in place for preserving, enhancing and managing the City’s trees, tree species and tree canopy cover which are important community assets.

“Melville has approximately 80,000 trees across City controlled land (40,000 of which are street trees), providing about 30% of that land with a  shady tree canopy, and giving the City a healthy baseline to further increase the benefits of the urban forest with the implementation of this Strategic Plan,” said Mayor Aubrey.

In developing the plan, the City now has some clear strategic goals which include:

  • No net loss of urban forest canopy
  • Targeted increased planting to achieve locally optimal urban forest canopy cover
  • Extensive and current knowledge of the City’s urban forest system
  • Excellent urban forest management with active, innovative community participation
  • Integration of the urban forest into urban planning and land asset management

“The urban forest is an integral part of our urban environment and finding the optimal balance between the two is a key challenge for cities across the globe. We also recognise that for the community an urban forest represents far more than just environmental benefits,” said Mayor Aubrey.

"An urban forest also contributes to our socio-cultural and economic wellbeing and in many cases can define the character of our neighbourhoods, our public spaces and our sense of place.

“With statistics confirming that average winter rainfall in Perth has decreased over 17% since the 1970’s and average annual temperatures have increased, demand for public green spaces and trees is growing in line with population increase, and our tree population ageing in the City of Melville, this plan will help us work towards addressing these concerns.

“In addition to the great work the community reference group has already contributed, I strongly encourage our wider community to jump online to www.melvilletalks.com.au/urbanforest and help review the draft plan.”

Following the finalisation of the Part A, Parts B & C will be developed for Private Land and Green Spaces consecutively, as guided by Policy No. CP- 102 - Urban Forest and Green Space Policy.

The City of Melville has also recently committed to The Compact of Mayors, a United Nations led global initiative that aims to capture the impact of cities’ collective actions to adapt and mitigate climate change.

The Draft Urban Forest Strategic Plan - Part A will be available for viewing and public comments from Monday, 22 April to Friday, 16 June 2017, at www.melvilletalks.com.au/urbanforest