Urban Forest Visual

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Urban Forest Visual

Did you know that 27 per cent of City of Melbourne's current tree population will be lost within the next decade? Ever had the urge to keep tabs on Melbourne's overall tree population, or even a specific tree for that matter?

Tasked with maintaining more than 70,000 trees, City of Melbourne via its Urban Forest Visual website provides the means for any person to explore the current state of Melbourne's inner city 'forest'.

In operation for some time, Urban Forest Visual is a tool within the wider Urban Forest Strategy which provides "A robust framework for the evolution and longevity of our urban forest." The strategy aims to:

  • Adapt our city to climate change.
  • Mitigate the urban heat island effect by bringing our inner city temperatures down.
  • Create healthier ecosystems.
  • Become a water sensitive city
  • Engage and involving the community.

The Urban Forest Visual interactive map goes into amazing detail, with all manner of searchable options possible. Age, location, type and life expectancy are but a few options available to the viewer, with the map able to target a specific tree if required.

Urban Forest Visual
Useful life expectancy. Image © City of Melbourne

The purpose behind Urban Forest Visual is to raise awareness of a number of key issues confronting Melbourne's tree population, particularly regarding diversity and longevity.

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.

Urban Forest Visual
Urban Forest Visual
Tree genus. Image © City of Melbourne

The above graphic shows Melbourne's most common tree types graphed by genus with the colours indicating useful lifetime; green refers to a healthy tree while orange indicated a dying specimen. Interestingly Plane and Elm trees look to be the least suited/resilient genus utilised in Melbourne.


Hats off to City of Melbourne for devising such a comprehensive and interactive system in charting the state of Melbourne's inner city 'forest.'

What chances of devising a similar program charting Melbourne's built form?

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Discussion (6 comments)

Peter Maltezos's picture

The eucalyptus trees in Franklin Street grow quickly and appear healthy, but are often knocked over whenever we have strong winds blowing.

They are either falling over are dropping large branches.

Too dangerous for our streets in my opinion, give me plane trees any day!

I collect, therefore I am. thecollectormm.com.au

Alastair Taylor's picture

The trees on Swanston Street are still dropping debris (office is at canopy level) and as a result I've had sinusitis on and off for 5 weeks now.

Quite literally doing my head in.

Bilby's picture

They are not growing or flowering at this time of year, though - how could they be the cause of allergies right now?

Peter Maltezos's picture

It's probably mould from accumulated rotting organic matter (leaves) that's causing it.

I collect, therefore I am. thecollectormm.com.au

Riccardo's picture

I'd like to see Royal Park completely regrown as forest, it's just disgusting and nothing at present. Audit the sports fields and work out if we are getting good use from them. Rather than the EW tunnel nonsense, just sink 4 lanes parallel to Elliot Ave then remove the original. And finally, get rid of the Upfield line and replace with my South Yarra to Coburg metro under Sydney rd.

I can here the whinge ing about a central city bushfire but a genuine forest would do so much for liveability of the inner area.

Riccardo's picture

Gave it some more thought. The former Princes
Park oval buildings should be acquired and pulled down, and a more modest set of sports fields in this area, so that most of the sport fields in Royal Park can be ended and grown over as forest.

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