Major Local Government partnership event to save trees
In partnership with eleven local councils and the support of the WA Local Government Association (WALGA), the City of Stirling will lead a month-long campaign to shine a light on the importance of urban trees and raise awareness about the negative consequences of long-term reduction in tree canopy coverage.
The WA Tree Festival will run from 9 April to 9 May 2022 and feature a variety of workshops, school holiday activities, art installations, trails, talks, plant giveaways and wellness activities.
The partnership includes the City of Albany, the City of Melville, the City of Perth, the City of South Perth, the City of Swan, the East Metropolitan Regional Council, the Shire of Kojonup, Shire of Serpentine-Jarrahdale, the Town of Bassendean, and the Town of Victoria Park.
Mayor Mark Irwin said that it was clear from more than a decade of scientific advice that the Perth metropolitan area needed significant action to remediate the loss of tree canopy coverage.
“Trees are essential in a warming climate – they cool us down, provide habitat for wildlife and make our neighbourhoods look and feel better,” he said.
“Together with our partner local councils and WALGA, we intend to highlight the importance of daily connections to nature and the often-invisible benefits trees provide, and to promote understanding around tree canopy loss, climate change and how individuals can help.
“A decade of research that maps the coverage of trees, shrubs and grasslands across the Perth metropolitan area shows that only 30 per cent of our tree canopy remains, and in Perth, 85 per cent of this tree canopy is on private land. This is why it is so important for people to come together to protect trees.
“This means that local governments have to account for the loss of coverage that comes primarily from development of privately owned land with massive investments in tree planting across verges, parks and reserves to ensure our local climate is stabilised and the effects of urban heat are reduced.”
The loss of urban green space and native vegetation is a very important issue for local government, particularly in urban areas where there is clearing of land for infill and greenfield development.
Reduced canopy cover impacts on public amenity, human health and biodiversity and as trees are often replaced with hard surfaces, this generally leads to increases in average temperatures, creating urban heat islands.
Local governments have been playing a leading role to address this issue, with many developing and implementing urban forest and/or greening strategies, adopting significant tree registers and tree bonds, and making amendments to Local Planning Schemes.
A dedicated WA Tree Festival social media presence and website and have been set up to help residents all across the Perth metropolitan area participate in local events, where participating local councils will be sharing how people can get involved.
The project has been led through a sub-committee of officers under the WALGA Urban Forest Working Group to demonstrate the impact that this group has in advocating and bringing awareness to the issue of tree canopy loss in the state.
Visit www.watreefestival.com.au for more information on planned local events, resources and contact details.
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