Why Are Trees and Canopy So Important?
Trees and forests are very important to life on earth; they provide clean air, help filter storm water, provide habitat for plants and animals and can cool the environment. Just like in a natural forest, trees in the urban environment are also very important and help make our suburbs more enjoyable and healthier to live in. The value provided by trees and the urban forest increases exponentially with the increase of canopy cover.
City of Belmont residents are encouraged to improve their streetscapes by requesting a street tree
In 2019 the City completed the drafting of its Canopy Plan 2019-2024
The Canopy Plan outlines the City’s path forward on its urban forestry
journey across the next five years. It also includes opportunities for
the City’s residents, businesses and other key stakeholders in the
community to participate in the delivery of the Canopy Plan Actions.
The Canopy Plan has identified nine key objectives:
- Build internal capacity to incorporate the urban forest into City policy, processes and procedures with a view to retain, create and enhance canopy cover across the City
- Develop partnerships to support canopy retention, creation and enhancement
- Retain, create and enhance canopy coverage in City projects and programs
- Develop and support innovative policy for canopy retention and creation within public open space, residential, commercial and light industrial planning and design
- Support research to consider risks surrounding Urban Heat Island Effect, future climate scenarios, canopy provision and canopy loss
- Increase community awareness through ongoing promotion of the importance of the urban forest and the delivery of educational programs
- Support research to maximise canopy protection, retention and creation
- Support local biodiversity values through canopy management
- Manage, monitor, review and report on the effectiveness of this plan
The majority of the
actions included in the Plan are interrelated and completion of each action aims to result in
increased capacity to deliver better urban forestry outcomes and
therefore better urban liveability outcomes.
Canopy Plan 2019-2024 Updates
During the May 2019 OCM, Council endorsed the City's Urban Forest Policy (NB3.2)
. The Policy identifies six key commitments to the Urban Forest:
- Engaging and working collaboratively with the community and key stakeholders to implement its urban forest vision.
- Managing trees as a collective (rather than as individuals) to achieve the retention and enhancement of a diverse, healthy, fit for purpose, low risk and sustainable urban forest.
- Adopting a design philosophy for City projects that places priority on pedestrian amenity, landscaping and shade trees.
- Increasing canopy cover within streetscapes, public open space and City managed land.
- Ensuring that, through the implementation of current industry best practices and standards, all trees are able to grow to their full arboricultural potential.
- No net loss of canopy cover on City managed land.
What should I know about the Urban Forest Policy?
The Urban Forest Policy details the City of Belmont’s commitment to preserving and enhancing the growth of the urban forest. It includes information on tree planting, tree retention and protection, tree pruning, tree removal and replacement, and tree offset and cost recovery for City trees (i.e. street and reserve trees).
Decisions on street tree pruning and removal will be made against this Policy. Where the development of a property results in the removal of a street tree, three replacement trees will now be required (see Policy clause 5. ii.).