The authorities in Melbourne are seeking input on plans to transform Melbourne into a 'city within a forest'.

In November 2011 the council released its Draft Urban Forest Strategy 2012-2032, which proposes increasing public canopy cover to 40 per cent by 2040.

The stated aim is to create ''a city within a forest rather than a forest within a city''.

A dedicated website states that the city’s trees are now under threat. More than a decade of drought, severe water restrictions and periods of extreme heat, combined with an ageing tree stock have put our trees under immense stress and many are now in a state of accelerated decline.

“As a result, we expect to lose 27 per cent of our current tree population in the next decade and 44 per cent in the next 20 years;” the site reads.

“Combined with this loss, Melbourne's urban forest is facing two significant future challenges: climate change and urban growth."

Declining and dead Elms on St Kilda Rd in Melbourne

The draft Urban Forest Strategy aims to:

  • adapt the city to climate change
  • mitigate the urban heat island effect by bringing the inner city temperatures down
  • create healthier ecosystems
  • become a water sensitive city
  • engage and involving the community.

To achieve this by:

  • Increasing canopy cover from 22 per cent to 40 per cent by 2040.
  • Increasing forest diversity with no more than five per cent of one tree species, no more than ten per cent of one genus and no more than 20 per cent of any one family.
  • Improving vegetation health
  • Improving soil moisture
  • Improving biodiversity
  • Informing and consulting with the community

Visit the website to get involved.