Two very important trees in this photograph - the remnant Eucalypt at the gates of the Addison Road Centre thought to be at least 150-years-old and the Cooks Pine street tree across the road.  That too is is an old tree.

Two very important trees in this photograph – the remnant Eucalypt at the gates of the Addison Road Centre thought to be at least 150-years-old and the Cooks Pine across the road. That too is is an old tree & amazing that it is a street tree.

Councillor Chris Cornish of the City of Bayswater in Perth Western Australia has had a brilliant idea.

  • He wants to “assign trees with a dollar value that must be taken into account in planning decisions, weighted according to the trees economic, environmental and health benefits.” See – http://bit.ly/1gl7gST

He believes this will have a positive impact on the loss of the urban forest due to development. Any tree that has to be removed should be regarded as an asset (which they clearly are) & therefore the developer must pay for the loss of the asset.

Much to my admiration Councillor Cornish sees trees as “a critical issue.”  So do I.  With climate change bringing with it a steadily rising urban heat island effect there will be a much higher risk of death due to heat.

Trees also have significant impact on human health.  Trees filter pollution from vehicles.  Areas where the canopy is not good have been shown to have an increase in heart attacks & respiratory illness.  In a nutshell, trees are essential, not only for wildlife, but also for human beings.

Suffice to say that giving a dollar value to trees may go a long way to saving some of our urban forest, especially older trees.  I hope assigning a dollar value to trees becomes the norm across Australia.

Vancouver in British Columbia, Canada already has plans to put a dollar value on both private & public trees.  The city developed a database of all their 140,000 trees way back in 1990. This information is open access to the public & is updated weekly as new trees are planted.

Of interest, all their street trees undergo pruning every 8-years. The database does not include the 350,000 other trees in their parks. The city must look beautiful.

They want to expand the database to “quantify the annual “eco impact” of each tree, right down to how much it saves taxpayers in stormwater diversion, energy savings from shading, sequestration of carbon dioxide and filtration of pollutants.”

Vancouver’s urban forest canopy cover is 18%. It was 22.5% in 1995, but development & private tree removal has lowered the canopy cover “despite a mandate by [the] Mayor ….to plant 150,000 new trees by 2020 as part of their Greenest City Action Plan.” See – http://bit.ly/1OpHOtk

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