Increasing the amount of trees and plants in parks in streets, and on public and private land will produce manifold beneficial results. Not only will it beautify and contribute to the city’s character, but it will also improve our air and soil quality and reduce climate change. It also provides helpful services such as cooling building, shading pedestrians, screening unwanted views, reducing glare and power bills. Increased our city tree canopy will also reduce the urban heat island effect, and the attractiveness of shopping centres and dining precincts encourage more tourists and they add higher rents and sale values to residential areas, ultimately contributing to the local economy.
Lord Mayor Clover Moore also added “street trees improve mental health and well-being by reducing stress in urban green spaces, as well as providing a sense of place and enhancing property values. Deciduous trees cut your summer cooling bills, while still allowing in light and warmth through during winter.”
There are around 81,000 trees in the City of Sydney area which provide a canopy cover of just over 15 per cent. Under the Urban Forest Strategy to plant more trees and shrubs this would increase to more than 23 per cent by 2030 and to 27 per cent by 2050.
Each year one mature tree can absorb 3,400 litres of stormwater, filter 27 kilograms of pollutants from the air and provide a cooling effect equivalent to continuously running 10 air conditioners with larger trees providing four to eight times the benefit of smaller trees.
City of Sydney Chief Arborist Karen Sweeney said the new plans would see a range of deciduous and evergreen, and a variety of small, medium and large trees planted across the city centre and villages.
“Despite a densely urbanised area and harsh conditions in the City Centre, we have trees growing healthily and happily and we are planting more,” Ms Sweeney said.
In another step to help care for Sydney’s trees, the City has updated its Register of Significant Trees to now include 2,645 of the most important individual trees and groups of trees according to their visual, botanic, historical and social significances as well as their ecological value.
The heritage values for each listed tree or group of trees have been summarised into a Statement of Significance based on criteria developed by the NSW Heritage Office.
Members of the public and individuals nominated 320 individual trees and groups of trees, all of which were investigated and assessed.
The Register of Significant Trees will now go on community exhibition where people can provide comments or nominate additional trees while Council had adopted the draft Urban Forest Strategy and the Tree Management Policy.
For more on Sydney’s Urban Forest Strategy, please click here.