Growing our urban forest

The City is committed to growing our urban forest by increasing tree canopy cover on private and City land over future decades. 

Urban Forest Plan

The City has developed an Urban Forest Plan to help increase tree canopy cover on private and City land over future decades. The plan will set a clear direction for the City and the community to follow, ensuring greener neighbourhoods into the future.

To view the plan, please click here.

Mapping canopy cover

The City has been mapping and monitoring tree canopy cover for the past seven years which has informed the development the Urban Forest Plan. Using high-resolution airborne multispectral imagery, a canopy area is analysed to calculate changes to 'significant canopy'. Significant canopy is defined as tree canopy cover that's taller than three metres and has an area larger than 20m².

To increase urban canopy cover, the City's Council set a target of an average of 18 per cent canopy cover across the City by 2040.

Key facts

  • Over the past seven years, tree canopy cover has fallen by nearly 1.5 million m². Two-thirds of this loss has occurred on residential land, mostly as a result of development
  • Although the City plants 10,000 new trees each year, this is not enough to replace the canopy being lost
  • If we do not act now, canopy cover will be reduced by up to 50 per cent in suburbs with high rates of development
  • An Urban Forest Plan will help us to develop solutions to slow down canopy loss and increase the number of new trees being planted
  • Extensive mapping and monitoring indicates the City has 12.4 per cent average tree canopy cover across all land types
  • Mapping and monitoring reveal canopy loss rates have increased over the past seven years with a combined total of over 1.5 million m² of tree canopy lost
  • 68 per cent loss from residential land and 12 per cent loss from verges.

Free trees for residents

Up to two free trees are available for residents to plant in their garden through the Free Tree Program. Registrations for this program will open in February 2020. To stay in the loop, please subscribe to the Livng Green newsletter here.

The Million Trees Program

The million trees program was adopted in 2008 and aims to plant one million trees and shrubs within the City by 2025. The ‘million trees’ consists of a mixture of native and introduced species of different vegetation types, including trees and large shrubs, but also some small shrubs and ground covers. The City has currently planted 655,600 trees and shrubs so far.