Vision and plans

The City has developed an Urban Forest Plan aimed at enhancing tree canopy coverage on both City-owned and privately-owned land in the coming decades. While the plan establishes a clear path for the City to follow, fostering a greener and more verdant living environment is a collective responsibility. The Urban Forest Plan guides and encourages the community to also create greener neighbourhoods for the future.

The City has undertaken extensive mapping to understand changes to ‘significant canopy’ (defined as tree canopy cover that’s taller than three metres and has an area larger than 20m²). Analysing high-resolution airborne multispectral imagery, the City can calculate changes to significant canopy over time and space. 

Explore the Urban Forest Plan
View here

Key facts

  • Stirling has 12.1 percent tree canopy (2023)
  • Nearly 2.6 million m² of significant canopy has been lost since 2012; that’s equivalent to approximately 74,300 medium sized trees
  • The highest amount of tree canopy is found on City managed land
  • Canopy on City land has increased over 10 years; however, it is offset by losses on residential land, causing overall canopy decline. This loss is primarily from development on private land
  • 87% of suburbs now have less tree canopy within privately-owned-residential land, than they did in 2012.
  • Solutions in the City’s Urban Forest Plan such as planting 10,000 new trees each year on City managed land helps us to slow down canopy loss, but we need the community’s help
  • One of the best things you can do to help the canopy grow, is to keep the existing trees that you have on your property. The next best thing is to plant new trees

Why is tree canopy essential? 

Trees are one of the City's most important assets and make neighbourhoods liveable.

Increasing canopy is important because trees help lower summer temperatures by up to 5 degrees, they create habitat for wildlife and improve air quality. They also define the character and enhance the liveability of our neighbourhoods and deliver a wealth of benefits to residents:

  • Trees naturally regulate air temperature as well as provide shade – great for enjoying the outdoors, pedestrians and pets!
  • Provide habitat for birds and other wildlife
  • Improve the appearance of streets
  • Increase property values with tree lined streets worth an additional $16,000
  • Reduce heating and cooling costs by 12 to 15% per year

Street tree master plan

As part of the Urban Forest Plan, the City plants around 10,0000 trees on residential verges, reserves and streets.

The way we live is rapidly changing, as we maximise liveable space on ever shrinking blocks the humble backyard is fast disappearing, in its place, paving, plastic grass and parking. This vegetation loss has serious health, environmental and financial impacts.

The Street Tree Master Plan has been developed to help us map our future streetscapes and ensure diversity of tree species across the City.  Although diversity and consistency may seem like opposing ideas, they are both essential in creating a healthy and resilient urban forest.

  • It is important to have different species of trees in order to create a resilient urban forest. By having diversity in the species, it safeguards the future against widespread loss due to pests, diseases, and climate change.

  • This means creating consistent themes within streetscapes.

    Planting the same species along streets results in:

    • More aesthetically pleasing streetscapes
    • Increases to property values
    • The defined character of an area
    • Management efficiencies.
Explore the street tree master plan
Click here

Street themes

It is important to remember that street trees are part of the streetscape and not a part of the individual landscaping of each property.

To create consistent streetscapes, the City looks at how many trees could potentially be planted within a streetscape, and how many currently exist.  It also measures how many of a particular species exist which helps identify which streets may be able to adopt a new theme to meet diverse needs.

Where there is the ability to change to a new species, the selected species will be used to plant the gaps in the streetscape and to replace any trees that reach the end of their natural life.

In time, this will create a consistent avenue of trees.

Street classification and species selection

The available space and the characteristics (topology) of the street have a strong influence on what species will be assigned to that location.

Average widths of verges have been estimated and street types have been assigned to one of the following five classifications:


Depth range

Extra small

Verge widths under 1m. These streets will be assessed on a case-by-case basis for planting due to their small size. The heights of trees selected for these locations will range between 4m and 10m.


Verge widths between 1.0m and 4.5m. Trees selected for these locations will have heights ranging from 3 to 15m.


Verge widths between 4.5m and 6.5m. The heights of trees selected for these locations will range between 5 to 20m in height.


Verge widths greater than 6.5m. These streets will be assessed on a case-by-case basis for planting and may include more than one row of trees on each verge. Trees selected for this category will range between 7m and 20m in height.


Significant roadways such as Beach Road and Stephenson Ave are addressed in localise plans and projects and not as part of the Street Tree Master plan

Species selection

When selecting a suitable species for a street, other factors considered can include: 

  • Street orientation
  • Presence of overhead powerlines
  • Habitat requirements
  • Soil type
  • Proximity to the coast
  • Cultural heritage and character of the area.

If you’d like to learn about our community planting days, free trees and plants giveaways, the City has a range of workshops, events and volunteer opportunities to help build knowledge and encourage involvement. For more information and other greening initiatives, please visit the Living Green Program.