Friday, June 30, 2017

Urban forest is tangible start for Shepparton to adapt to a changing climate

Shepparton made a tangible start to preparing Shepparton for adaption to a changing climate.

The City of Greater Shepparton formally launched its “Urban Forest Strategy 2017-2037” on Thursday.

Shepparton, along with the rest of the world, will be getting hotter as the 21st Century unfolds and trees, it has been shown, noticeably cool urban areas.

More than 100 people gathered in the Fryers St carpark next to Friars Cafe for the launch to hear from the city council’s CEO, Mr Peter Harriott, the city’s mayor, Dr Dinny Adem, the deputy mayor, Cr Kim O’Keeffe.

Each of those who attended were given a native tree seedling.

On its website, the council explains its vision saying, “Greater Shepparton will be an attractive, vibrant and liveable region with well-connected green spaces that are valued by the community.”

Explaining and “urban forest” it says: “Greater Shepparton City Council manages around 37,000 street and park trees in urban areas including Shepparton, Mooroopna, Tatura, Dookie, Murchison, Kialla and Toolamba. A comprehensive tree audit determined that approximately 19,000 of these are in Shepparton, 6,000 in Mooroopna, 4,000 in Tatura and 8,000 in other towns and locations.

Some of the seedlings handed out to those who
attended Thursday's launch of Shepparton's
Urban Forest Strategy 2017-2037.
“These trees are a core part of Greater Shepparton’s urban forest, which includes all urban trees, both public and private (that is, trees on your property).

“Tree canopy cover was only calculated for the public urban areas of each town. It did not include surrounding farmland or state or national parks. Trees in natural bushland and river lands adjacent to urban areas are also not considered part of the urban forest.

“The urban forest offers natural shade, localised cooling, habitat for animals, air pollution reduction and lower stormwater flows across the whole Greater Shepparton region”.

It says the aim of the city’s urban forest is, by 2037, to:

   •  Increase urban forest canopy cover in each town to 40%
•  Reduce the number of vacant street tree sites to zero
•  Improve urban forest diversity by age and useful life expectancy
•  Increase the number of biodiversity links through each towns street and road network
•  Include urban trees in all major Council infrastructure projects at planning, design and implementation phase
•  Ensure best practice urban tree management is being delivered across all Council programs.

Council’s website explains why an urban forest is important; its health and wellbeing benefits; the economic benefit arising from an urban forest; and, probably most important of all, the environmental benefits its affords residents and all species that call Shepparton home.

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