Skip to main content

Urban Forest Strategy

We’re planting more than 2,200 trees a year on Council land and increasing and protecting other forms of vegetation to create a cooler, greener and more wildlife-friendly Bayside.

The Urban Forest Strategy aims to improve Bayside’s urban environment in partnership with the community and respond to the effects of climate change. Together, we will protect and restore ecological systems with special concern for biological diversity and natural processes.

There are many reasons to love trees. Trees and vegetation make an important contribution to the liveability of our suburbs, encouraging outdoor activity and interaction and playing a crucial role in creating a healthy environment. 

Trees draw carbon from the atmosphere and remove air pollutants. They and other vegetations are crucial habitat for wildlife, help to purify water, decrease salinity in soils and limit the effects of erosion.

Trees improve the look of our streets and provide shade, helping reduce the urban heat island effect, which is caused by the loss of vegetation in urban areas, resulting in these places having significantly warmer air and land surface temperatures than rural areas. 

Climate action

The implementation of the Urban Forest Strategy is a key action identified in our Climate Emergency Action Plan 2020–25. The strategy was developed following extensive consultation with our community

Bayside will be a better place with increased indigenous planting on the foreshore and public areas, ensuring our urban forest is healthy and more resilient to the impacts of climate change.

We will seek greater outcomes for new developments to retain established trees and plant new vegetation, ensuring mature trees and garden landscapes are protected and enhanced where possible.

Also, the creation of the Chain of Ponds at Elsternwick Nature Reserve will improve the conditions of our natural environment in Bayside, strengthen habitat connectivity and improve the ecological functions of the reserve.

Moving forward

The vision of the Urban Forest Strategy seeks change over 20 years, however the action plan within the Strategy identifies the approach to implementation over the next four years. It is anticipated that the actions can be updated to inform the next four-year cycle of the Strategy.

There are five main themes that underpin the Strategy. 

The objective is to increase tree and vegetation cover to reach 30% across the municipality by 2040.

We will increase the use of vegetation cover, particularly under-storey planting, in public areas to increase greening and improve biodiversity without impacting on accessibility or existing uses.

We will prioritise areas of greatest need, including those with less canopy tree cover, to increase planting. Areas that are strategically located to mitigate Urban Heat Island effects (including Major Activity Areas and areas experiencing increased density and construction activity), areas of declining canopy or aging trees, highly trafficked pedestrian routes and those with gaps in public planting will be prioritised.

The objective is to create a diverse and healthy urban forest. Council will increase the use of native and indigenous species type across public tree plantings to ensure greater food source is provided for habitat and to build resilience as our climate continues to change and is less tolerant of exotic species. The Street and Park Tree Selection Guide will be updated to ensure this diverse species selection is achieved. 


We will also undertake a review of the Bayside Landscape guidelines to require greater emphasis on native plantings and increase the species cover on nature strips.

The objective is to improve the ability to monitor and track Bayside’s urban forest.

We will continue to develop the Urban Tree Monitoring Program to continue monitoring the loss and gain of trees over time, and the health of the urban forest as new trees start to develop. The data could later be collected to identify tree height and species on private property and identify and predict areas that are vulnerable to potential heat island effect.

We will also continue to undertake enforcement and compliance programs for replacement plantings as well as audits of landscape plans prior to issuing a Certificate of Occupancy. 

The objective is to maintain our existing canopy cover across the Bayside municipality and avoid further decline. 

This will be done by, among other things, reviewing the Neighbourhood Amenity Local Law and investigating (and where possible introducing) a municipal-wide approach to avoiding, minimising, and offsetting the loss of native vegetation. 

We will also review Planning Permit Landscape Conditions for Planning Permits to require the retention of appropriate tree trunks and branches on the subject sites or to be relocated within Council reserves to support and strengthen habitat.

The Strategic objective is to advocate and partner with key stakeholders to provide greener outcomes across Bayside, metropolitan Melbourne and Victoria.

  • We will develop an “Adopt a Tree or Ecological Vegetation Communities” program to encourage the community to directly and actively support the objectives of the Urban Forest Strategy.
  • We will engage with private property owners to increase awareness of the role of landscape character in neighbourhoods, and how residents can contribute and enhance the greenery in their street. 
  • We will also partner with community groups to ensure the Urban Forest Strategy is embedded in Council’s operating processes and public spaces. 
     

Reasons to love trees

Trees combat climate change by locking up carbon and releasing oxygen into the air. A mature tree can remove more than 90kg of pollution from the air each year. Trees also clean the air by absorbing pollutant gases and filtering particulates by trapping them on their leaves and bark.

Source: The Nature Conservancy Australia. ‘How urban forests can help people and nature.

A study has shown that just two medium-sized trees to the north/north-west of your home can reduce the temperature inside by several degrees, saving you over $200 per year from your electricity bill.

Source: Moore, G M. (2020). ‘It isn’t rocket science. Street trees can make a difference in climate change!,’ The 21st National Street Tree Symposium 2020, p. 24-34.

Trees filter air pollution and help prevent water pollution by reducing runoff and preventing stormwater from carrying pollutants into the Bay. Trees can also prevent erosion and stabilise soil, particularly in coastal environments.

Source: Moore, G M. (2014). ‘Defending and expanding the urban forest: Opposing unnecessary tree removal requests’. The 15th National Street Tree Symposium 2014, p. 70-76.

Urban forests provide habitats for native wildlife, including birds, bees, and possums, increasing urban biodiversity.

Source: The Nature Conservancy Australia. ‘How urban forests can help people and nature.  

Spending time near trees is proven to improve our mental wellbeing, reduce stress and incidences of mental illness. Cool green spaces are ideal for active and passive recreation.

Source: The Nature Conservancy Australia. ‘How urban forests can help people and nature’. 

Trees soften and beautify our urban environment.

Source: Moore, G M. (2014). ‘Defending and expanding the urban forest: Opposing unnecessary tree removal requests’. The 15th National Street Tree Symposium 2014, p. 70-76.

Trees provide privacy, wind protection, and dampen noise in urban areas while shading and cooling the environment.

Source: Moore, G M. (2014). ‘Defending and expanding the urban forest: Opposing unnecessary tree removal requests’. The 15th National Street Tree Symposium 2014, p. 70-76.

Trees have an important social and cultural role for our Traditional Landowners and First Nations people. Conservation is vital to respect and protect our remnant indigenous vegetation and areas of cultural heritage sensitivity.

Source: The Nature Conservancy Australia. ‘How urban forests can help people and nature.  

Trees cool the city by shading our homes and streets and releasing water vapor through their leaves. Shade from trees can reduce the urban heat island effect by reducing surface temperatures by up to 8°C in summer.

Source: The Nature Conservancy Australia. ‘How urban forests can help people and nature.

Urban trees encourage forms of physical activity, which provides a range of health benefits such as reduced risk of developing chronic heart disease, diabetes, dementia and much more. Trees offer us relief from extreme temperatures.

Source: The Nature Conservancy Australia. ‘How urban forests can help people and nature’. 

Shade from trees on roads, footpaths and carparks can extend the lifespan of bitumen by up to 3 times.

Source: Moore, G M. (2016). ‘The Economic Value of Urban Trees in the Urban Forest as Climate Changes.’ Acta Hortic. 1108, 1-12.