Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate this week planted a weeping lily pilly at Evandale, as data shows the city’s green canopy continues to increase.
Since 2012, the city has planted more than 50,000 trees in our streets and parks and 652,680 trees in our natural areas.
“This is tree number 652,681,’’ said Mayor Tate.
He said that in three years, the tree will be four metres in height, adding to the city’s overall green canopy.
A 2020 report – Urban Tree Canopy Study – detailed extensive research into the Gold Coast Urban Footprint. The report found that, across the total area of public open space lands and critical environmental corridors within the Urban Footprint, the extent and maturity of tree cover has increased over the past 10 years.
“We are one of the fastest growing cities in Australia, yet we still achieved this fantastic outcome,’’ said Mayor Tate.
“Healthy tree canopy is important for the long-term benefit of residents, visitors and our precious flora and fauna. I thank the many volunteer groups, private land owners and City staff for their incredible work in protecting our green canopy. We have some challenges ahead in key areas, but I am confident we are all committed to expanding our overall green tree canopy wherever we can.’’
The study found:
- from 2009 to 2014, the maturity of tree cover increased by 18%, and from 2014 to 2018 it increased a further 14%;
- tree canopy cover within residential areas has maintained an average of 20%; but decreased in approximately 25% of all suburbs over the last five years;
- there is some tree canopy loss associated with in-fill developments (where a single dwelling is removed and two units/duplex style properties are constructed); and
- the average tree canopy cover across the whole urban footprint is 32%, with 21% of that tree canopy cover being on private owned land, eight percent of the canopy cover on publicly-owned land (including open space) and three percent of the tree canopy cover being on road reserves.
The study focused on the area of our city known as the Urban Footprint which includes established urban areas and land with potential for new urban development.
Residential areas occupy around one-third of the land within that urban footprint. It is this area where most people live and have an opportunity to walk or cycle to key destinations. A growing body of evidence suggests that further landscaping is needed to help mitigate forecast urban warming, support healthy and liveable neighbourhoods including attractive, tree shaded active travel environments.
Urban tree canopy is defined as trees or vegetation above 3m in height and contains both native and non-native species It differs from the city’s mapped native vegetation cover which captures native vegetation in large patches of native vegetation.
“There are obvious challenges in some northern suburbs where tree clearing has been necessary to support new, affordable housing estates,’’ he said.
“I want to see a continued focus on increasing tree canopy and street-lined landscapes throughout our city, providing cool thoroughfares. I also want to see greater focus on the habitat corridors we are establishing to give linkages for animals moving across our broader landscape.’’
The report was prepared by Arup and was the recipient of the Australian Institute of Landscape Architects 2020 Landscape Planning Award.