Yesterday I focused my blog writing on the extreme emotions around trees. Today I look at the value of the trees of Unley.
As I blogged yesterday trees, and therefore the trees of Unley, are both an asset and yet a liability.
Trees are a considerable asset to the community on many levels. They are an important element of the rich culture heritage of Unley. Our trees compliment the environment. They enhance our enjoyment of open spaces by making them more comfortable and pleasant. Just as importantly they provide a wide range of other benefits. Benefits such as shade, cooling and habitat for wildlife.
Conversely, trees constitute a potential risk to our community. There are several risks to both property and more importantly to person. The older they get the greater the risk. These risks include from both underground and aboveground.
Underground risks include movement causing damage by lifting to paths, roads and to buildings. The movement can create trip hazards in our vast footpath network. Above ground dropping limbs can cause property damage and (as highlighted yesterday) are a risk to personal safety.
Like other assets, such as buildings, trees require considered and ongoing maintenance. As with buildings this maintenance should be designed to maximise the benefits they provide and to minimise risks.
So what is the value of the trees of Unley?
Our Tree Strategy Policy 2016-19 is taking a proactive stand toward maintaining and growing our urban forest.
The core of this is recognising for an urban forest to be sustainable there must be a wide age-distribution of trees to create a cycle of succession.
Council’s urban forest has 26,000 trees. 23,000 of these trees are located in some 450 streets. The remaining 3,000 of these trees are in our parks and gardens.
A recent audit of our trees indicates that 20% of our trees realistically require replacement in the next five to ten years. More urgently 7% of our trees (1,570) will require replacement in the next 5 years.
During this time, we plan to remove 1,924 trees. More importantly we aim to plant 2,806 new trees. Rather than just replace trees we have determined are in need, we have identified opportunities to plant trees where none exist now.