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Bass Coast Shire Council adopts Urban Forest Strategy to protect and expand urban vegetation and help mitigate climate change

Bass Coast Shire Council adopts inaugural Urban Forest Strategy, aiming for 40% canopy coverage by 2040 to combat climate change and promote community well-being.

By news@gippsland - 17th May 2023 - Back to News

Bass Coast Shire Council has endorsed its first Urban Forest Strategy, as the community works to mitigate climate change by protecting and growing our natural vegetation. The Urban Forest Strategy is the first of its kind for Bass Coast and sets out a plan to protect and expand our urban forest with a target of a 40 percent canopy coverage by 2040. To ensure full social, economic and environmental benefits, the strategy also aims to ensure that no neighbourhood falls below 25 percent canopy coverage.

Council pledges to plant 1500 trees each year, prioritise native species, and develop tree protection policies to enhance urban forest

Council pledges to plant 1500 trees each year, prioritise native species, and develop tree protection policies to enhance urban forest

Expanding urban tree canopy

Urban forests are made up of all trees and vegetation in an urban area, including street trees, nature strips, parks, open space as well as backyards, industrial areas and conservation sites. Under the strategy, council has committed to planting 1500 trees annually - an increase of approximately 1200 trees a year on the current program. Planting of species that adapt well to the area's changeable climate, particularly native and indigenous vegetation, will be prioritised.

In addition, council will compile a detailed tree inventory and continue to support tree protection measures. A Street and Park Tree Protection and Removal Policy is also being developed, with clear protocols for tree protection and removal on public land.

Protecting urban forests

Bass Coast Mayor, Cr Michael Whelan, said the best defence against climate change and development was to grow the urban forest. Cr Whelan said council had received overwhelming community support during two phases of consultation, with the 224 respondents of the first phase unanimous in their support for the urban forest to be protected and enhanced.

"Bass Coast is fortunate to still have substantial vegetation cover in many urban areas, but this vegetation is in decline," he said. "Without a concerted effort to protect our existing urban forest, we can expect continued reduction of these ecosystems in years to come."

"The Bass Coast Urban Forest Strategy means we will have the best opportunity to enjoy the benefits of our urban forest, so that it continues to provide habitat for our birds and wildlife, alleviate climate change, while helping to provide important health and wellbeing outcomes, plus community connection to nature," Cr Whelan said.

Further information

Inclusive stakeholder input shaped a resilient urban forest strategy for a healthy, green, and beneficial community environment.

Please contact Bass Coast Shire Council's Communications team on

Pictures from Bass Coast Shire Council website.


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