Not an unusual streetscape

Not an unusual streetscape in Marrickville

The streetscape is entirely different in this street in Lewisham

The streetscape, as well as the benefits trees bring is obvious in this Lewisham street.

The US Forest Service & University of California have released a study in the Urban Forestry & Urban Greening titled, ‘Structure, function and value of street trees in California, USA.’ See – http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1618866715301400

The study of 929,823 street trees across 50 cities in California found that –

  • The street tree asset value is US$2.49-billion.
  • The street trees provide annual services valued at US$1 billion or US$110.63 per tree.
  • The street trees remove 567,748 tonnes of carbon dioxide annually. This is equivalent to taking 120,000 cars off the road & valued at US$10-million.
  • Energy savings provided by the street trees was US$101-million.
  • Flood protection was valued at US$41.5 million.
  • Pollution removal was valued at US$18-million.
  • There was a US$5.82 benefit for every US$1 spent.
  • Finally, property values were increased by a whopping US$839-million.

So with these statistics clearly showing the multiple benefits provided by street trees, you would think the cities would be green.  In reality the street tree canopy across California cities has dropped 30% with 16-million vacant planting sites.  It seems that trees that died or removed were not replaced & therefore the community has lost much of the benefits provided by the street trees.

In 2012 the US Forest Service found that the urban forest canopy was falling in 20 US cities, plus an increase of hard surfaces.

The last research done in Australia that I am aware of was released in 2014 by the Institute for Sustainable Futures at University of Technology.  That research looked at the canopy cover in cities & in 139 of Australia’s municipalities across Australia, home to 68% of the population.

In Sydney, Pittwater & Hornsby Shire Council lead with a canopy cover of 59%. Warringah Council followed closely with 58%.

In 2014 Marrickville municipality had a cover of 16.3% & the highest percentage of hard surfaces at 63.4%.  hard surfaces.

Our neighbours (now amalgamated into one big council area) saw Ashfield with a canopy cover of 19.8% & 57.4% hard surfaces & Leichhardt with a higher canopy cover of 20.3%, & but also with a the highest percentage of hard surfaces at 59.8%.

It will be interesting to see if the old Marrickville LGA will get an increase in public trees to come into line with the old Leichhardt LGA & how long this will take.

You can download the 202020 Vision pdf document here – http://202020vision.com.au/media/7141/final-report_140930.pdf

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