Native trees best for beating urban heat

Yellow box and kurrajongs were some of the top ranked trees to beat the heat in a report which assessed 211 tree species used in Canberra’s urban spaces, Minister for Climate Change and Sustainability Shane Rattenbury announced today.

The Urban Tree Species report, commissioned by the ACT Government and undertaken by the ANU Fenner School of Research, identified the best tree species to improve Canberra’s urban tree canopy and adapt to rising temperatures.

“It’s critical that we design our city to combat the effects of climate change and rising temperatures to deliver a more sustainable and liveable Canberra,” Mr Rattenbury said.

“Canberra’s Living Infrastructure Plan, released last month alongside the ACT’s Climate Change Strategy, outlines how we will keep our city cool in a warming climate and sets out how we will increase our urban tree canopy cover from 21% to 30%.

“Improving our urban tree coverage will not only help to reduce urban heat but will enable more green spaces and increase our natural biodiversity.

“But it’s not as simple as just planting more trees. Growing trees in an urban area requires careful consideration of location, quality of soil, how it will be supported by water, and its heights and characteristic must be considered to ensure longevity.

“The report assessed and ranked tree species on a range of climate factors including drought tolerance, frost tolerance, extreme heat tolerance, weed potential and allergen potential.

“It found the overall list of species used in Canberra’s urban spaces is currently suitable, but recommended trialling other native trees such as lemon-scented gum, spotted gum, wilga and silky oak.

“It also recommended that oriental plane trees to be used more sparingly due to allergenic pollen.”

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