The City of Melbourne maintains more than 70,000 trees. This website enables you to explore this dataset and some of the challenges facing Melbourne’s Urban Forest.
Individual tree data for City of Melbourne trees is presented below. Pan and Zoom into different areas of Melbourne, click on tree symbols to reveal details, and select between different locations and filters.
Drag map, click icons for details
Many of Melbourne’s trees are approaching the end of their useful life due to a combination of age and the combined stresses of extended drought, extreme heat and water restrictions. The useful life of a tree is an estimate of how long a tree is likely to remain in the landscape based on health, amenity and risk.
Healthy trees are thriving and have a life expectancy exceeding 20 years.
At risk trees may be stressed due to drought or other environmental factors but cultural treatments (e.g., irrigation, mulching etc.) can be used to restore trees to health.
Trees that are declining have reached a point where treatments may prolong life but will not restore the health of the trees, and dying trees require removal from the landscape.
Melbourne's most common tree types - graphed by genus - coloured by useful lifetime
A lack of species diversity leaves the urban forest vulnerable to threats from pests, disease, and stress due to climate change. Currently our urban forest is dominated by eucalypts, planes, elms and gums (corymbias). Many of these trees were planted at the same time during condensed periods of planting activity, and large numbers of elms and planes are now reaching the end of their useful life expectancy.
37% of planes have a life expectancy of less than 10 years.
50% of elms have a life expectancy of less than 10 years.
Combined with the substantial losses associated with an ageing tree population, myrtle rust and sycamore lace bug are current threats to the Eucalyptus, Corymbia and Platanus genera. Diversification is a basic rule for reducing risk. A greater range of species will provide greater resilience and long-term stability for the forest as a whole.
Melbourne's canopy graphed: with & without tree planting
Without tree planting
With tree planting
Canopy cover represents a way of expressing, as a percentage, how much of any given area is shaded by trees.
The canopy cover graph above shows two potential futures for canopy cover in our streets and parks. The lower line represents what is projected to happen to our canopy cover if we stop planting trees. The line above shows what will happen if we replace trees as they are lost and plant new trees at a rate of approximately 3,000 trees per year to 2040.
Canopy cover is a key criterion by which we measure the urban forest’s ability to produce benefits for the community and the environment.
Increasing canopy has been identified as one of the most cost efficient and effective strategies for mitigating the urban heat island effect and adapting to climate change. The City of Melbourne has used lidar and orthophotography to obtain accurate measures for canopy cover across
City of Melbourne is divided into 10 precincts, and public workshops are being held in each precinct.
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