1. No net gain of trees
Each year the City removes around 1,000 public street trees in response to a range of factors:
- Storm damage
- Pest and disease attacks
- Requests from developers to make way for developments
- Trees failing or reaching the end of their useful lives
- Inappropriate plantings such as those that have outgrown a site
The City’s budgets currently cover the planting of 1,050 advanced street trees per year so there is only a net gain, year on year of 50 trees. City Plan stipulates a net increase per year of 400 street trees.
This mandate is not being met and at this stage has no capacity to be met.
2. Support for greening through tree planting
While trees are sometimes viewed as liabilities to be managed, there has been an increase in support for more urban greening in Geelong.
Feedback from streetscape plantings, lower mortality rates from vandalism and increased requests for street trees demonstrate greater support for Geelong’s tree planting program. These supporters from the community, local businesses, schools, universities and within the various levels of government understand that Geelong’s trees are key community assets that provide a myriad of benefits to current and future residents.
The Geelong community is becoming more involved and engaged in localised tree planting activities, yet the City recognises that there is still work to be done in fostering community support and encouraging additional trees in our urban landscape.
3. Climate change
Whilst urban vegetation plays a key role in building ecological resilience towards changing climates, the extremes in weather can also play havoc to the health and structure of an urban forest.
Extreme heat, wind and rainfall have the capacity to damage the urban forest and even incremental changes in weather can change pest and disease patterns, leading to outbreaks which may lead to mass tree death.
A healthy, diverse and structurally sound urban forest is far more likely to adapt to these changes, placing importance on sound planning and maintenance into the future.