WHAT'S HAPPENING WITH OUR TREE CANOPY?
Nearmap is the only organisation with access to a nationally consistent, high-resolution data set updated up to six times a year. In Adelaide, for example, our decade-long study of tree cover change shows it is one of the capital cities with the lowest tree cover. Our analysis reveals just under three in ten Adelaide residents live in suburbs where the tree cover is greater than 20%.
It’s important to note access to high-quality insights like these has not been readily available in the past. Now, using our data, urban planners have the information they need when planting trees to monitor changes over time, to ensure there’s ample shade and vegetation to create places where people want to live and work.
It’s worth comparing Adelaide to other capital cities. Greater Brisbane has the highest tree cover of all, where more than 79% of people enjoy life in suburbs with total tree cover greater than 20%. In Hobart, the figure is 71%, Darwin 66%, in the ACT it’s 58%, and in Greater Sydney 44% of people live in suburbs with more than 20% tree cover. In Greater Melbourne its only 30% and in Perth the figure is 22%.
In the case of Adelaide, our study found substantially more suburbs have lost than have gained tree canopy over the past decade. Across 281 suburbs in the city, half have lost at least 9.8% of their residential tree cover, while just 18 suburbs have gained 10% or more.
We’re also able to use the same data set to hone-in on what’s happening in individual suburbs, such as St Clair. A decade ago, much of St Clair was an old racecourse with some mature vegetation. Today, while those trees have been removed, many new trees have been planted and there are lots of fully-grown trees, established dwellings and a wonderful wetland walk at its centre.
Encouragingly, our data shows saplings planted a decade ago have grown into fuller, more mature trees. This is a good indicator the trees will continue growing healthily. The St Clair experience shows even when the tree canopy is compromised, there's lots of potential to turn this around.