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Benefits of tree canopy cover and vegetation

Tree canopy

Melbourne’s western suburbs are some of the fastest growing areas in Australia. They are also drier and often warmer than other parts of Melbourne. As the population increases so too does pollution, heat and pressure on the environment.

Trees and vegetation are vital components for liveable, healthy suburbs and provide many health, environmental and economic benefits.

Trees and vegetation help to combat climate change by removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. As our cities warm they also contribute to reducing the ‘urban heat island effect.

Cooler, shaded spaces in our parks, in streetscapes and alongside homes can reduce heat stress particularly for those in our community who are most vulnerable to high temperatures.

There is also evidence to suggest that people living in areas with quality ‘green space’ are more likely to be physically active than those living in areas with low levels of greenery.

Additional benefits of increasing trees and vegetation include:

Health and social

  • Improved air quality through reduction in airborne particulates and contaminants that contribute to respiratory illness.
  • Quality green space to enhance residents’ health and wellbeing.
  • Protection from UV light.
  • Visually pleasing neighbourhood open spaces and streetscapes.

Environmental

  • Creation of ecosystems that support biodiversity.
  • Reduced stormwater run-off to mitigate against flooding.
  • Creation of wind breaks.

Economic

  • Reduction in home heating and cooling costs through the shading and insulating properties of trees and vegetation.
  • Improved property values.
  • Prolonged life of asphalt in footpaths leading to reduced maintenance costs.

 

 

4 Comments

  1. Posted 9th February, 2012 at 9:48 pm | Permalink
    Suzi Juric
    Suzi Juric says:

    Just read your article regarding the benefits of tree canopy cover and vegetation. It makes some great points. However, it would be good to see some of the onus put on councils not just residents to ensure some of the west’s newer suburbs have more trees and shade to provide us with the benefits your article mentions.

    One of the key things that attracted us to moving to our new estate in Hillside was the beautifully maintained parks and the tree lined streets. Shortly after the developer handed over the estate to our local council (Melton), most of the trees died or were damaged due to building works. Although I agree it is essential that residents take some responsibility to look after and maintain these trees (as per council guidelines) it would be good to see council taking the time to check and educate residents on how to go about doing this.

    Now all we have is a couple of trees scattered here and there, most of which look like they are dying, if not already dead.

    I was able to get a replacement tree for the front of our property which had been damaged by tradesmen. It’s thriving and doing well, be it sadly, all on it’s own. When I enquired about council replacing the other dead or dying trees in the rest of our street, they informed us that it was up to each resident to get in contact with them for a replacement even though they were informed by us that most of the street no longer had trees or the ones that remained were very “unhappy”.

    We are extremely disappointed that we will not have the tree lined streets we were promised and which existed when we first moved into the estate. We feel duped by our council.

    Maybe if they put more effort into providing resources that inform and educate residents about caring for trees in our streets and doing regular maintenance checks, less of our ratepayers money would have to go go towards constantly pulling out dying trees and replanting them over and over again.

    • Posted 24th May, 2012 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

      Suzi, thanks for your feedback, it has been forwarded to Council’s Parks Coordinator. Melton Shire has an active street tree planting program and requests can be sent to Customer Services at customerservice@melton.vic.gov.au to arrange the street trees to be included on the program.

    • Posted 1st May, 2014 at 12:59 pm | Permalink
      Anne Heyes
      Anne Heyes says:

      Moonee Valley is the best council. We have had a lot of people in our street remove their nature strip trees over a period of some years. I contacted council and they came to my street and counted all the trees missing. In spring they came and planted out 53 trees by memory. They came past for a while and watered them to get them established. Within months people would walk past and snap the tops off them. Some got pulled out and some just died in the 1st summer of extreme heat. I haven’t counted them but I would say about 20 survived. Council would know more than me about success rates. I guess it is EDUCATION, EDUCATION, EDUCATION! but i think some people just don’t want a nature strip tree and don’t understand the importance of trees. I am reluctant to contact the council again because the homes that didn’t care for the trees – there will probably be no success but who knows we might get about 50 per cent success rate again but what an enormous cost and how disheartening for the parks and garden staff when you are up against such attitudes of people in society (and most are not children but adults doing the damage here).

  2. Posted 18th September, 2012 at 12:04 pm | Permalink
    Christine Collins
    Christine Collins says:

    Suzi this is a common occurrence when developers give up on the estate. The term they maintain for is available to a purchaser of property when it is for sale.
    Trees that are stressed can be saved by a Seasol treatment every two weeks maybe you could arrange this with your neighbours. How many trees have you planted on your property? Small, or large you can make a difference yourself. If you look at the leafy suburbs on the other side of the city the majority of trees are on private property!!

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