Collective Impact Strategist, Greener Spaces Better Places, NSW Australia
With her finger firmly on the pulse of societal and environmental trends, Belinda brings together diverse organisations around a shared goal for positive impact. Greener Spaces Better Places is a national initiative to ensure that as our cities and towns grow, so too do our green spaces.
THE STATE OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT URBAN FORESTRY MANAGEMENT
Greener Spaces Better Places has just launched a report on the state of urban forestry management in Australia's urban Local Government Areas (LGAs): what's working, what's not, and what's next.
This new research was undertaken across 116 urban councils, as part of the Where Will All the Trees Be? green cover benchmarking research. RMIT researchers surveyed 169 people whose job it is to green our cities at the local council level to learn more about the influence of local government on greening outcomes through policies, resourcing, community engagement and 'effort'. Respondents included council planners, arborists, landscape architects, engineers, parks teams and sustainability officers from each of the urban LGAs in Australia.
The good news: 88% of local councils report having an Urban Forest Strategy or are developing one. However, it's only as good as the council's ability to plant and protect trees and the community's attitudes towards the value of trees. Combined with the finding that 54% of local councils are experiencing high or very high challenges to maintain or grow green cover, so there is still some work to be done. The research points to private land for green cover decline. Private land losses are thought to be due to limited or ineffective planning policy and controls and resourcing challenges to enforce tree protection. When these factors are coupled with poor community support for green cover, NIMBYism (Not in My Backyard) is perceived to be rife, driving canopy loss. Given the majority of land in urban Local Government Areas (LGAs) is privately held, this presents an immense challenge.
The full report and one page summary can be downloaded here: https://www.greenerspacesbetterplaces.com.au/guides/local-government-urban-forestry-management/