It seems like Melbourne is on its way to become world's best city for living not only for people, but for trees too. The council's tree-saving program is showing growing numbers in its five year account. More people feel compelled to take part in the noble initiative as volunteers. The ambitious plan to revive the city's "urban forest" seems to be working to the fullest. Trees' numbers and diversity on Melbourne streets is growing and the benefits of it will be effective very soon, according to the prognosis.
Five years ago the city was facing total loss of its trees due to the long periods of drought. In fact, it was on the edge of a complete loss of the "urban forest". Thanks to the joined efforts of Lord mayor Robert Doyle and city's chief planner Rob Adams back in the hot summer of 2009, the trees were watered and saved. However, many of the trees in Melbourne are ageing, and suffering from the consequences of lack of soil moisture.
Since 2009 the city council is making yearly plans for optimising and growing the urban forest throughout Melbourne. In the past year, for example, the city planted 3000 trees in the time between April and October. There are also steps being taken for better care of the trees, to reduce their damage and improve their growth. Also, a thorough data base was created to follow the development of the urban forest. You can even check it out for yourself on this interactive map. It shows on which streets of Melbourne there are dying or damaged trees, where there are newly planted, young trees, as well as what type of trees they are.
But of course, part of the council's strategy is to implement diversity in the “tree population” of the city with the intention of each tree species to represent no more than five percent of the urban forest in each municipality.
The prognosis of the future of Melbourne's trees looks somewhat dim. It's predicted that forty percent of the tree population will die out by 2030. However, there is some hope left that the city will manage to elude an irreversible tree crisis with the timely measures of the council. To brighten things up, since the beginning of the urban forest saving program in 2010, 12,000 new trees have been planted on the streets of Victoria's capital, and 1.2 hectares of green space have been created.
It's important to remember that each and everyone of us has the responsibility to participate in the efforts to save our nature surroundings. Start small, by keeping your domestic environment clean and eco-friendly, recycle, plant a tree in your back yard, or at least spread the word about the issue.
The problems with urban tree population and climate change seem to be deeply interrelated. First, hot weather and drought are one of the main reasons for the decaying condition of the trees (another one is the overpopulation and urban construction, of course). In the mean time, the best way to oppose the consequences of climate change is to have more healthy trees in our cities. This way the air will be of better quality, the condition of soil will improve, and best of all - trees are our best option to cool our cities in the dreaded hot and drought periods.