Swift action required to stop big tree loss: new report

30 May 2020

Swift action required to stop big tree loss: new report

Adelaide is losing its big trees at an alarming rate, and urgent action is needed to reverse the damaging trend, according to a new report released today.

Prepared by a coalition of community and professional organisations, the report captures the latest data from across Adelaide’s suburbs and highlights the dangers to wellbeing and the economy if the trend continues. 

“Adelaide is losing significant, regulated and mature trees every day, in every suburb,” said Craig Wilkins, Chief Executive of Conservation SA and lead author of the report. 

“The true level of harm has up until now been difficult to capture, as it is often incremental loss on private land.

“But now it’s impossible to hide and there is mounting public anger and concern because so many ancient trees have gone.

“Big trees massively increase our mental health and wellbeing, encourage us to do more exercise, clean our air and are essential for cooling our streets. They are the air-conditioners of our city.

“With climate change rapidly increasing temperatures in built up areas, particularly at night, cutting down trees is like throwing away ventilators ahead of a pandemic,” he said.

While Councils and communities are working hard to plant new trees, there is not enough space on public land to replace what we are losing from people’s backyards.  And it will take many years for a newly planted tree to provide similar benefits to one that is mature.

Despite State Government and local Council targets for increase in urban tree canopy, over 40% of SA urban Councils have experienced a significant loss of tree canopy cover, alongside a similar increase in hard surfaces. 

“There is a clear trend underway in Adelaide: more concrete and fewer big trees. This is despite the huge amount of evidence that shows just how valuable big trees are to the liveability and wealth of our suburbs.

“It’s essential we turn around this damaging trend now,” Mr Wilkins said.

The Report has been prepared by Conservation SA, Treenet, Australian Institute of Landscape Architects (SA), Trees for Life, National Trust (SA) and the Nature Conservation Society of SA.

The report can be accessed here: conservationsa.org.au/trees2020

 For further comment: Craig Wilkins 0417 879 439

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Contact Conservation SA on (08) 8223 5155, [email protected], or at our offices at the Joinery at 111 Franklin Street, Adelaide.

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