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
Where Have The Trees Gone?
To accommodate a growing population, trees on private property and verges are often cleared for development and consequently, canopy cover is lost.
Wide scale removal of canopy in the urban environment often results in remaining trees being isolated and segmented in parks and recreational areas, leaving many square kilometres of unshaded roads, car parks, paths and roofs.
Since the 1980's, the City of Belmont has experienced a significant growth in population and development which has correlated with an observed decline in canopy cover. However, there are opportunities to reverse this trend and the incorporation of canopy cover into new developments can help lessen its decline whilst creating healthy and enjoyable places to live.
Whilst this may be a leading cause of canopy loss, it is important that we provide our growing population room for ongoing and sustainable housing. The incorporation of canopy cover into any development can help lessen the declining trend while creating a healthy and enjoyable place to live.
What Do We Have Left?
An assessment of the City’s canopy cover undertaken in 2013 revealed a canopy loss of 16 hectares between 2001 and 2012.
Canopy in 2001 covered 12.05% of the City of Belmont (excluding Perth Airport) and in 2012 had been reduced to 11.44%. The largest proportion of canopy loss has occurred on private land.
The industrial suburb of Kewdale has the least amount of canopy coverage for its area, while Ascot and Redcliffe are considered the ‘greener’ suburbs with an observed increase in canopy.
What Does The City Plan To Do?
The City's Urban Forest Strategy is a vital element to its long-term commitment to maintaining urban liveability. The objective of the Strategy is to enhance the urban forest and initially replace lost canopy coverage to at least the level it was in 2001, and continue to provide more.
The Strategy will secure the urban forest as a sustainable asset and help contribute towards the City becoming one of Western Australia’s most desirable and liveable Cities.
A thriving urban forest supports sustainable growth in population, property and industry and therefore the livelihoods, lifestyles and health of the City’s diverse communities. The retention and enhancement of green infrastructure will not only add to the urban liveability for current generations but it sets the precursor for healthy communities for decades to come.
What Can You Do?
We are seeking your input to help us enhance, retain, replace and secure the City's urban forest. Have your say and help us grow Belmont's urban forest!
The City's next step is to develop the operational plan for the Urban Forest Strategy; the Canopy Plan. The Canopy Plan will set clear targets and actions to enhance, retain and replace canopy cover across the City.
Whilst we will do the digging and planting of trees, we want the community to assist in setting some goals and targets for us. We need to know where more trees are needed and what the community wants in terms of tree programs, partnerships and actions.
City of Belmont Urban Forest Strategy.