The 202020 Vision and University of Technology Sydney has released the first ever benchmark report on urban tree canopy cover in Australia.

First Urban Tree Canopy Cover Benchmark in Australia:

The report “Where are all the trees? An analysis of urban tree canopy cover in Australia” is based on a national study conducted by 202020 Vision with the Institute for Sustainable Futures (ISF) at the UTS.

The report captures the percentage of trees across the country’s most urban, dense and metropolitan areas.

“Nobody really knew how much tree canopy cover – a key indicator of green space – there was in our urban areas so we can set out to measure it. Now that we have a benchmark to measure by, we can set about helping increase the amount of green space in our urban areas,” the report said.

Green canopy was measured using i-Tree, a free easy to use software that allows users to rapidly measure the tree canopy in a given area. Using the software, the ISF analysed 139 local government areas (LGAs) in the most densely populated places in the country. The selected areas are home to 68 percent of the population.

The types of surface areas measured included grass-bare ground, hard surfaces, trees and shrub. The report showed that Australia “boasts areas of impressive tree canopy cover and revealed exciting opportunities for achieving our shared goal of increasing green space in urban Australia”.

It turns out that Hobart is the “highest ranking capital city in terms of the proportion of tree canopy to other kinds of ground cover”. Hobart “boasts 56 percent tree canopy cover”. Adelaide, on the other hand, has the lowest proportion of tree canopy among the country’s capitals with 27 percent.

In terms of regional cities, Cairns in Queensland has the highest percentage of tree canopy followed by Launceston in Tasmania and Townsville in Queensland.

The report said that the areas with high hard surfaces to tree canopy ratios include Maribyrnong in Victoria, Fremantle in Western Australia, Holdfast Bay in South Australia and Rockdale in New South Wales. “Tree canopy rates could be increased through urban regeneration projects.”

“What this report provides is a starting point for councils, developers and decision makers to better understand the existing tree canopy in their local areas and guidance on how to measure it.”

202020 Vision is calling on the public and private sector to help in increasing the amount of green space in urban areas.

“You can start by looking at the data captured by i-Tree from your local area and consider what might be done to improve the state of canopy cover near you.”

“This report is just the beginning. Now that we have a tool that reliably measures tree canopy, we are going to continue to work with local, state and federal bodies, alongside our other partners, to see these canopies maintained, improved and increased.”

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