18 June 2021

Street forestry program gives suburbs the chance to turn a new leaf

| Kim Treasure
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Trees line a Gungahlin street

Street trees are part of what makes Canberra spectacular in autumn. Photo: Damien Larkins.

More than 1000 Canberrans across six suburbs have been given the chance to change the look of their streets as part of a pilot forestry program.

The ACT Government is empowering Canberrans to decide what types of trees are planted throughout their suburbs and streets, growing the city’s tree canopy.

Tree plantings have started in 31 streets across six suburbs, with positive results for residents and the environment alike.

“We have engaged more than 1100 Canberrans in our pilot street forestry program since it launched in March,” Minister for Transport and City Services Chris Steel said.

“The program lets local residents decide what types of trees they want planted in their street and then supports them with information on how to care for those trees once they’re in the ground.

READ ALSO Reading Canberra’s history through its tree leaves

“Through this program we will be planting more than 400 trees over the next couple of months. At the same time, we are learning more about what people value and prioritise about street trees and the best ways to involve residents before trees are planted.

“Streets in Bonython, Florey, Kambah, Mawson, Ngunnawal and Scullin are taking part in the first round of planting because heat mapping identified these areas would particularly benefit from more trees to help cool the neighbourhood and reduce the heat island effect.”

Feedback through the pilot indicates that nature strips tend to be the preferred location for street trees with native trees that are medium in size being particularly popular.

“Residents and community members have shown a fantastic level of engagement with the program and we’ll all be keenly following the health and growth of these newly planted trees,” Mr Steel said.

“Canberra’s green canopy is an important part of what makes our city so attractive and liveable, which is why the ACT Government has set ambitious targets for expanding it. Involving the community in where, how and what we plant is a key strategy for protecting and expanding our urban forest.”

The ACT Government is still considering the outcomes of this pilot program to include in broader community-driven tree planting initiatives.

People can still request a tree to be planted in selected areas following the completion of the street forestry program. For more information, click here.

Original Article published by Kim Treasure on The RiotACT.

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