Urban forests and a good tree cover can be a matter of life and death, one of Australia’s foremost experts in urban tree management and arboriculture, said in Brisbane this week.
Melbourne University horticulturalist Dr Greg Moore said studies of the 2008-9 Melbourne heat waves showed more people had died in the sparsely tree covered suburbs when compared with the more leafier neighborhoods.
“In the last three decades, the tree canopies and the tree populations in most Australian cities have declined… significantly because of the loss of both public and private open space,” Dr Moore said.
Dr Moore said strategic tree plantations and urban forests were needed more than every with the increased threat of global worming and heat waves.
“It seems to me that if we have not got vegetation, if we do not have green space then the opportunities that vegetation provides for ameliorating the heat-island effect, reducing wind speeds, providing shade, reducing energy use – these are all diminished.”
Brisbane City Council’s Environmental Planer Ms Lyndal Plant said urban forests need more effective planning and management in order for them to survive
“Urban forest components require the most active and interventionist approach – they require the most management and planning,” Ms Plant said.
“Urban forests are the trees that people live closest to – they are our warriors.”