‘How to Grow an Urban Forest’, Australia’s first guide to growing and maintaining tree populations in urban areas, was released at a special event by the City of Melbourne, the Victorian Government and the 202020 Vision.

Designed as a strategic greening model for urban areas across Australia, ‘How to Grow an Urban Forest’ is a 10-step guide to developing and maintaining urban tree populations.

Chair of the City of Melbourne’s Environment Portfolio, Cr Arron Wood explained that the guide will serve as a vital resource for urban councils across Australia by enabling them to strategically plan for and develop healthy urban forests, and create liveable and climate-resilient cities and towns.

According to Wood, the greening guide was inspired by the City of Melbourne’s Urban Forest Strategy, which aims to increase the city’s canopy cover from 22 per cent to 40 per cent by 2040. As part of this objective, 3000 trees are being planted in Melbourne every year to increase the resilience of the urban forest and cool the city by four degrees Celsius.

He added that the release of the guide is an effort towards sharing the knowledge and helping to increase shade and greenery in towns and cities across Australia. Case studies from cities that have successfully implemented Urban Forest Strategies such as the City of Melbourne, the City of Adelaide, the City of Port Phillip, and Christchurch City Council, have been included in the guide.

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The resource was launched at Melbourne Town Hall during a one-day Urban Forest Master Class that included representatives from more than 50 Local Government Areas and Statutory Authorities from around Australia. Over 200 land managers, policy officers, planners and arborists also attended the event. The Victorian Government provided $16,500 to organise the Urban Forest Master Class.

Executive Director, Water and Catchments at the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning, Scott Hamilton underlined the need to support measures that combat climate change and improve liveability.

‘How to Grow an Urban Forest’ is the first major outcome to be implemented from The 202020 Vision Plan, released in May this year, which is working towards a 20 per cent increase and improvement of urban green space by 2020.

Dr Anthony Kachenko, Research and Development Team Leader for Horticulture Innovation Australia and 202020 Vision Advocate concluded that if every urban Local Government in Australia were to create an urban forest, it would be possible to achieve 20 per cent more urban green space nationally, if not more.

How to Grow an Urban Forest can be downloaded from the 202020 Vision website.