What are the goals of the Urban Forest Strategy?

Our Urban Forest Strategy aims to protect and enhance Moreland’s natural assets on public and private land, including street trees, significant trees, areas of conservation value and habitat corridors. The strategy sets out what we want to achieve by 2050 with key targets for the next 10 years and an action plan to achieve our 10 year goals.

The Urban Forest Strategy includes 7 core objectives:

  1. Protect and enhance the urban forest in both the public and private realm.
  2. Value the urban forest as a core element of our urban space.
  3. Create a diverse urban forest of trees and other vegetation that will enhance urban ecology.
  4. Maintain the health of the urban forest.
  5. Manage and mitigate urban forest risks.
  6. Monitor and review progress to measure success and best practice.
  7. Strengthen community custodianship and engagement of the urban forest.

Key Performance Indicators

3 measurable Key Performance Indicators have been adopted in the Strategy which we will report to Council every four years. 2022 marks halfway along the strategy timeline and our first 4-yearly report on these key performance indicators.

4 years in, how are we tracking?

Measurements taken in 2021 show that the tree canopy covered 6.85km2 which is 13.42% of the total municipality. This represents growth of 0.74km2 since 2017

Progress on our key performance indicators

1. Canopy Cover on Council Land

  • In 2016 canopy cover was measured at 4.31%. In 2021 we had reached 5.77%
  • We have consistently met tree planting quotas in this time and we are planting more trees than are being removed annually.
  • Despite this, there is a risk of not achieving a doubling of Council Land canopy cover by 2030 and more work is needed to achieve the target of doubling the canopy.

2. Health of the Forest

  • In 2021 a new reporting methodology was developed to improve the accuracy of reporting tree survival rates. We now know that 91.7% of trees planted by Council over the last 3 years have survived.
  • There is a lack of data available to confidently assess tree age and health.
  • 47 new integrated water and vegetation projects have been implemented since the adoption of the urban forest strategy.
  • Data shows that the order of the top 5 most common genus of trees in the area has changed slightly since 2016:
    1. Eucalyptus (Gum) 32.1% (formerly 20%).
    2. Callistemon (Bottlebrush) 24.7% (formerly 25%).
    3. Pyrus (Pear) 7.6%
    4. Melaleuca (Paperbark) 7.4%
    5. Prunus (Plum) 5.9%.
  • The diversity data suggests that we need to actively diversify our tree population and implement planting strategies that aim to reduce the prevalence of the Myrtaceae (Myrtle) plant family, and the genera Eucalyptus (Gum) and Callistemon (Bottlebrush).

3. Community Satisfaction

  • We scored well when our urban forest maintenance practices were compared with other Victorian local governments with a satisfaction score of 76%.
  • In 2021 there was widespread community support for the nature strip beautification program and positive feedback on urban forest projects.
  • To further improve the measure of community satisfaction with our maintenance of the urban forest a customised survey will be developed.