“An important aspect of the campaign will be to show the real value of trees in urban communities, and we hope that any business involved in greening our environment will support and adopt the theme of ‘More Trees Please’ to ‘Improve Your Plant Life Balance in 2012,” said the Chairman of NGIA, Craig Norman.
“The research shows the positive benefits of trees to our health and wellbeing, as well as their economic value. In the green industries including landscapers, garden designers, landscape architects, parks and gardens managers we all know that but we need to be promoting trees much more in our urban environments.”
The NGIA has begun an information campaign to key decision makers in the community including local government and real estate developers to promote the importance of the urban forest – trees and shrubs on both private and public land – to the community’s health.
The Improve Your Plant Life Balance website has been updated and the Facebook page will be continually updated with news and information about the campaign and the value of trees in our urban environments.
A major promotion will be Improve Your Plant Life Balance Day on Friday March 2 with a major event in Canberra and activities locally around Australia.
The campaign intends to support and promote other major campaigns during the year such as ‘Trees for Mum’ around Mothers Day in May and ‘National Tree Day’ organised by Planet Ark in July.
A new software tool called iTree will also be promoted during 2012 as an integral part of the campaign.
iTree is the most comprehensive software developed to date to quantify the economic and physical benefits of the urban forest. The iTree tools were originally developed by the United States Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service to aid in urban and community forestry analysis and benefits assessment. Nursery & Garden Industry Australia, Aboriculture Australia, the Cities of Melbourne and Sydney and Enspec Pty Ltd consultancy are partners in the project to localise the software.
The National Environmental and Technical Policy Manager for NGIA, Dr Anthony Kachenko, says “we know that maintenance costs of trees have been an issue which has discouraged the use of trees in landscaping, particularly in public spaces, but iTree is clearly showing that the economic benefits of trees and our urban forests far outweigh the costs.”
“iTree will provide the tool to give a real value to our urban forests in suburbs in Australian cities, validating trees’ importance not only to our health and wellbeing but also to our economy,” Dr Kachenko believes.
“All of us in the green industries need to educate the community, councils and other decision makers that trees are not a nuisance - they are a valuable and integral part of any public and private landscape,” added Anthony.
NGIA believes attributes of trees such as sun, wind and rain protection, cooler temperatures in summer, reduced traffic speed in tree-lined streets and health and recreational value in public spaces have been overlooked in recent years.
“One can see the impact of this in home gardens and landscaped spaces over the past decade. We are now at a time when no new development project should be without a good selection of suitable trees and shrubs to add to our urban forest.”
For more information visit www.plantlifebalance.com.au or contact Dr Anthony Kachenko on 02 9876 5200.