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ACT Government releases Urban Forest Strategy

ACT Government releases Urban Forest Strategy
March 31, 2021

The ACT’s Urban Forest Strategy 2021-2045 has been released to guide the growth of Canberra’s urban forest and maintain a resilient, diverse and sustainable tree canopy.

The release of the Strategy follows community consultation undertaken last year to seek feedback on the vision, objectives and actions of the draft Strategy. 

More than 240 people including interested community groups had their say by completing a survey or providing a written submission.

ACT Minister for City Services, Chris Steel advises “Canberra’s urban forest is one of our city’s most precious community assets. It contributes to cooling our suburbs, cleaning our air, improving the liveability of our streetscapes, providing habitat for local wildlife and enhancing community wellbeing.

“It is essential that we protect, maintain and enhance our urban forest as Canberra continues to grow so that our community can share in these benefits today and into the future.

“The Strategy provides a framework to achieve this while working towards the target of 30% canopy cover or equivalent by 2045.”

The Canberra community has indicated strong support for the Strategy, with 92 % of respondents supported its vision and 97 % either fully or generally supported its objectives.

The ACT Government will now develop an implementation and evaluation plan to ensure the immediate, short, medium and long term actions are completed, tracked and evaluated and the Canberra community can be kept updated on progress against these actions.

As a priority, the Government is investing in more trees on public land to increase the tree canopy cover.

Minister Steel adds “to grow our urban forest we will plant hundreds of thousands of more trees, using more diverse and resilient species. This year alone we will plant around 9000 trees as we ramp up tree planting as part of the fifth large scale tree planting in Canberra’s history.

“Planting locations will focus on areas where canopy cover is lower and where existing trees are ageing or dying. New trees and a diversity of tree species will increase the resilience and sustainability of the ACT’s urban forest, contributing to the wellbeing of our city in a changing climate.

“In addition to planting more trees and maintaining our existing canopy, the Government intends to consult with the community on legislation over the coming year, to support the vision and actions in the Strategy, and so that we can better protect and grow our urban forest both on private and public land.”

For more information on the Urban Forest Strategy, including access to the consultation report, please visit www.yoursay.act.gov.au/trees-act/ where there is also an interactive map available to suggest a tree planting location. 

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