What next for Urban Forest Strategy
Thank you to everyone who participated in the recent consultation on the draft Urban Forest Strategy.
Understanding your thoughts on the draft Urban Forest Strategy and associated actions and measures will inform the final Strategy which will be presented to Council for adoption on Monday 9 October 2023.
The Banyule community has inherited an urban forest that has been shaped by many influences, both natural and human. It has been shaped by generations of land use, urban development, design and public policy.
Over the past year we have been working with the community to develop a new Urban Forest Strategy. The actions arising from this new Strategy will continue to shape the urban forest in a way that enhances and protects it for future generations.
Our community has clearly set the future direction by drafting a long term Community Vision 2041 that sets out the plan for Banyule's environment.
Draft Urban Forest Strategy
The draft Urban Forest Strategy aims to support us to plan, manage and maintain Banyule’s highly valued urban forest for the next 10 years. Actions taken today will influence the state of the urban forest, and long-lived trees in particular, at the end of the century.
It will help facilitate the expansion of the urban forest, strengthen the benefits that our population of trees and plants provides and respond to the priorities identified during community engagement.
Key targets and indicators of the draft Strategy are:
- A minimum average cover of 27% by 2050 for all suburbs, and no net loss in suburbs already exceeding that level
- A minimum 45% canopy for the footpath network in each suburb by 2050
- Plant the remaining ~10,000 vacant street tree sites over a 5-10 year period
- Develop an endorsed tree management framework that will include clear and transparent processes, procedures, and applications for managing tree risk, processes for removal, reporting and customer engagement
- Tree giveaways, giving trees to residents who request them, supporting the planting of trees on private land and influencing the diversity and climate suitability of trees that are planted
Thank you for your feedback on the draft Urban Forest Strategy.
View what you told us during public exhibition of the revised Urban Forest Strategy, and click 'follow' at the top of the page to stay-up-to-date and receive updates.
Stage 2 Engagement
What we did
During Stage 1 engagement we developed the framework vision and principles. The six strategic focus areas highlighted were:
- Prioritise urban forest improvements in the most vulnerable suburbs and places across Banyule
- Improve planting to complement trees
- Manage the urban forest across public and private land for resilience to climate change
- Take a long-term approach to Urban Forest management
- Build community partnership with council to protect and enhance the urban forest
- Integrate the urban forest principles into all parts of Council services
The strategic areas and actions were then shared with the community on Shaping Banyule for feedback from 9 May to 20 May 2022.
During this consultation we:
- provided a background briefing document that summarised data used to assess the current state of the Banyule Urban Forest
- explained the framework of vision and principles for the Strategy that were developed during Stage 1 consultation
- outlined the proposed strategic areas and actions.
We then asked for your feedback on whether the community agreed with the strategic areas and how you wanted us to prioritise the actions within each strategic area.
What you told us
Top 4 priority actions
View the full findings report.
Stage 1 Engagement
Banyule’s urban forest is resilient. It is thriving and people are aware and value the role of the urban forest for health and wellbeing and in making Banyule a great place to live.
The urban forest is managed as an essential asset for Banyule and decisions about the urban forest are fit for place and purpose and space is provided to support greening and larger tree canopy.
People work with Council and are active in the protection, management and maintenance of the urban forest.
What you told us
In December 2021, we asked for feedback on the draft Urban Forest Strategy principals; 99 people providing feedback through an online survey.
We also asked you to complete two sentences... Here's what you said.
(Note: the bigger the word the more times it appeared in your feedback).
Q1: Urban Forest in Banyule means... the dominant themes were habitat and wildlife, the importance of urban forest for human benefit, indigenous species and all vegetation, not just trees.
Q2: I like having trees around me because... the dominant themes were personal wellbeing followed by providing shade, cooling and supporting fauna.
Your feedback also highlighted the need to reference the natural environment in the principles, therefore we amended the fourth principle and added a fifth principle to reflect this.
The Banyule Urban Forest principles are the beliefs and reasonings that provide focus for this Urban Forest Strategy. The Urban Forest Strategy principles were endorsed at the February 2022 Council meeting:
- We believe the urban forest is an essential asset for Banyule, shared by all and crucial for the health and wellbeing of the community and natural environment.
- We believe a healthy urban forest is the result of strong partnerships between Council and community.
- We act today to respond to the changing climate and to leave a positive legacy for the future community, and we act responsibly, using evidence-based practice in our leadership and management of the urban forest.
- We plan, design and deliver for the people, places and natural environments of Banyule including:
- Climate change and reduction of urban heat island
- Liveability, amenity and neighbourhood character
- Banyule’s ecosystems and biodiversity
- We protect and enhance the Banyule’s natural environment to care for flora and fauna.
With the framework in place the Strategy moves to the next stage, developing the actions and indicators, with the draft report to be developed in June.
View the full UFS Framework Consultation Findings Report.
Urban Forest Strategy
Banyule City Council recognises the importance of green landscapes and the contribution they make to building a municipality as a preferred place to live, work and visit. Council is also committed to protecting, enhancing and managing our urban forest into the future.
Community expectations on environmental issues have also changed and a revision of the Urban Forest Strategic Plan (2015) is required to provide further direction on private and public land. The actions we put into place now will benefit our future environment and community.
In 2021, a street tree audit was conducted and registered approximately 70,000 existing street trees, their condition, life expectancy, and height. Preliminary analysis of the data indicates that there is potential to plant around 13,500 trees in road reserves across Banyule.
The Urban Forest Strategy will allow us to plan, manage and maintain one of Banyule’s highest valued assets - its urban forest - for the next 10 years. It will help facilitate the expansion of the urban forest and strengthen the benefits that our population of trees and plants provides.
The Strategy will also guide our Tree Planting Program, Street Tree Renewal Program and overall tree management in Banyule. It will also allow for further analysis to address future outcomes and actions.