Connecting and extending green space and canopy cover are just a couple of initiatives in a new metropolitan wide urban forest strategy for Melbourne called Living Melbourne: our metropolitan urban forest. The strategy is a first for Australia, and one of the first in the world, and will support Melbourne’s rapidly growing city to protect and strengthen its natural assets.
Changes in urban form, a growing population and climate change – including increasing urban heat – leave Melbourne’s greenery vulnerable, and could severely compromise the benefits derived from urban nature like cleaner air and water, reduced heat, and habitat for wildlife. Melbourne needs a plan to reverse this current and future decline and sustain Melbourne’s liveability for people and nature, across the entire city and its suburbs.
In developing the strategy, metropolitan councils, state government and its agencies, water authorities, non-government organisations and academics, united around a common vision for our urban forest – our thriving communities are resilient, connected through nature. Living Melbourne establishes tangible actions to turn that vision into reality.
Supported by solid evidence, Living Melbourne sets out six recommended actions that provide for healthy people, abundant nature and natural infrastructure:
- Protect and restore species habitat, and improve connectivity.
- Set targets and track progress (allowing for growth in the extent of the urban forest despite current losses).
- Scale up greening in the private realm.
- Collaborate across sectors and regions.
- Build a toolkit of resources and underpin implementation.
- Fund the protection and enhancement of the urban forest.