On Monday night the WA Greens launched their new Urban Forest Plan for Perth, at the WA State Library.
The event was a huge success, filling the 207 seat lecture theater to capacity and forcing some late comers to have to watch from the entrance.
Urban trees and green spaces look destine to be an important election issue this year, as communities across Perth are becoming increasingly concerned about increasing tree removal and bushland clearing, which is causing rising urban temperatures, the loss of biodiversity and amenity.
The Greens plan is exactly what Perth needs with our scorching summer temperatures. However, as Senator Scott Ludlam pointed out, achieving it will require work in other areas, such as improving public transport and cycling infrastructure to reduce the need for more and more roads.
It will also require Local Governments to take measures to educate residents about the many important benefits that trees and natural areas provide and take measures to protect them. Many will also need to embrace new technologies that are available to better monitor and analyse their urban canopies and improve the ways in which the manage them.
The State Government (WAPC) determines our planning laws and must give approval for much of what Local Governments do, so their role will as be crucial, as their current planning laws enable developers to build and pave over virtually every thing.
Change must come from the people themselves, as most trees and vegetation are being lost from privately owned land, due to urban infill and redevelopment. Councils can only do so much, street trees and parks will not be enough. We wont have a leafy city if we don’t stop removing existing trees and start leaving room to plant new ones. In the past people retained a lot more trees and built around them, these days blocks are completely cleared and leveled. It seems builders have forgotten how to build on the natural contours of the land?