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The Melbourne Urban Forest Accord Groups approach to Urban Ecological Management.

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Presentation on theme: "The Melbourne Urban Forest Accord Groups approach to Urban Ecological Management."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Melbourne Urban Forest Accord Groups approach to Urban Ecological Management

2 Melbourne Urban Forest Accord Group City of MelbourneCity of Port PhillipMoonee Valley City Council



5 Policy Gaps - 2009 Targets: Saving Water – 25% water saving by 2020 Achieve this by: Reduce potable water in parks Irrigation efficiencies Drought tolerant species Is reducing water the best outcome for our Parks and Trees?

6 Drought and water restrictions vs parks and trees Alexander Park – Feb 2004 Alexander Park – Feb 2010

7 Kings Domain & surrounds 852 trees assessed ideal

8 CoM Urban Forest Strategy

9 Trees + Water = Healthy Environments

10 Further gaps Trees seen purely as a risk in causing damage during extreme weather events No value given to their ability to cool the local environ - adaptation No value given to carbon sequestration

11 Further gaps At present, we can only value our trees using The Burnley Amenity Value Formula = cost of replacing the tree Currently very small fines/permit costs for removing urban trees No economic incentive for tree retention Unable to truly quantify the environmental benefits of urban trees

12 How can we value Urban Trees? Funding bid submitted to the Victorian Sustainability Accord Need recognised at State Government level Funding of $70,000 awarded MUFAG thus initiated!

13 Working Group University of Melbourne Monash University RMIT Melbourne Water Department of Health City West Water Arboriculture Australia DEVELOPMENT OF A PROJECT BRIEF

14 What are the benefits of urban trees? Environmental Social Economic

15 Chicago Urban Forest Project 1991 Chicago trees removed 6,154 tons of air pollutants valued at US$9.2m Total Co2 sequestration = 155,000 tons per year Increasing tree cover by 10% (3 trees per building) could reduce total heating and cooling energy use by 5-10% Cost benefit ratio of 2.83

16 Existing Valuations in Melbourne Valuing Urban Trees Parameter Measurements CoM Amenity Value FormulaI Tree Streets/EcoThis project Replacement value from nurseryEnergy conservationGreenhouse gas Species Factor Air quality improvementWater use AestheticsCo2 reductionAir Quality Locality Stormwater ameliorationClimate adaptation Tree Condition/Health Property value increase Infrastructure and horticultural implications

17 I Tree Streets Free to all users Must have good base data on existing urban forest i.e. species, health of canopy, DBH, cost of maintenance programs, demographic data for selected area, resident populations, linear miles of streets, local electricity costs Doesnt value social benefits such as community wellbeing and health Biggest issue: customised for USA (species, hardiness zones etc etc) Tom Fairman from Melbourne University: pilot project to overlay usefulness of I Tree Streets into Australian context

18 I Tree Model needs to be redesigned to include Australian climatic data and tree species Results valued urban forests in Carlton and NW Melbourne at roughly $1.06m. Biggest benefits in aesthetics and energy savings Need to look at return samples to understand the change in value of the trees over time. This will determine age mix of trees that provide greatest benefit Also need to look at economics of the urban forest: how costs vary under different management regimes over time and for different trees to determine exact cost of running an urban forest. May be that councils may lose money on some trees! BUT, there are international users

19 CITYgreen Uses GIS software to quantify benefits and map urban canopy Fee charged for software Similar parameters: reducing stormwater run-off, mitigating air pollution, energy savings, tree growth, water quality Developed by American Forests, a not for profit conservation group Coupled with urban ecosystem analysis to map urban canopies and their dollar values Not recommended for international use due to US specifications

20 UFORE Program Urban Forest Effects Model Calculates structure, environmental effects and values of urban forests Funded and developed by USDA Forest Service 4 types of data needed: field data, tree cover, meteorological data and pollution concentration data It then quantifies: –forest structure (species, density, health, biomass) –Volatile organic compounds ( urban forest emissions) –Carbon storage and sequestration –Dry deposition of air pollution (ability of urban forest to remove pollution) –Effects of trees on building energy use –Compensatory value of urban forest IS NOW i-tree ECO

21 Australian attempts to value urban forest Brisbane City Council: desktop study mapping the urban canopy using GIS and satellite imagery coupled with existing on-ground data. Consultant based report in 2001. No field studies. Suburbs averaged 27% canopy cover Modelled valuation on CITYgreens approach Results: Urban forest absorbing co2 equivalent to 130,000 cars annually Cooling surfaces in October by 5 degrees Celsius Potential for tree shading on east and west sides of buildings to provide energy savings of up to 50% Value of homes in leafy streets were 30% higher than non-leafy streets in same suburb

22 Australian attempts to value urban forest Canberra: Set up an Urban Forest Renewal Program to account for mature trees reaching end of their lives. ANU study in 2005 on the urban forest valued it at $15m, saved up to $3.9m in energy costs, provided $7.9m in air pollution mitigation and $3.5m in stormwater mitigation and reduced wind speed by up to 50%

23 i-tree Eco MUFAG developed close collaboration with USDF and Davey Trees, Dave Nowak and Scott Maco Agreement to create i-tree Eco International, using Melbourne as a pilot program If successful, i-tree Eco will be rolled out for other international users

24 Recalibration Consultant = Enspec Requirements: List of Australian tree species Meteorological and Climate Data MANY QUESTIONS…….. Dave Nowak

25 Is Australia ready to use i-tree? Not yet, but its worth considering what data needs to be collected by council arborists: - Species name - Location of each tree, land use, distance and direction to nearest buildings, sunlight source, street tree or park tree. - Size of each tree, trunk diameter, trunk height, crown width, Health of each tree, age, canopy missing, crown dieback. Some councils have already begun data collection First version due for completion July 2011

26 How will this project help us? Council: Development of our Urban Forest Strategy Investment planning: $1 invested in street trees returns $x State Government: Robust evidence for inclusion of trees in planning Understand the economic consequences of water restrictions and provide cost benefit analysis for WSUD Community Raise awareness of urban tree benefits Encourage private landholders to include real tree values in their development analysis

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