Yarra’s Urban Forest Strategy: creating a healthier, greener and more liveable city

Friday 18 August 2023

A person cycling through a leafy street

Yarra City Council is making progress towards its target of achieving 21.25% tree canopy coverage across the municipality by 2040.

Yarra’s urban forest is made up of all trees in the city, including trees in streets, parks, along Yarra’s extensive waterways and on private property.   

These trees provide shade, character and a visually appealing green backdrop to the city while enhancing liveability through a number of environmental, social and economic benefits. Trees reduce air pollution, provide oxygen, reduce storm water loads and provide biodiversity corridors and habitat for animals. 

Importantly in Yarra’s inner-city location, the urban forest is an efficient and cost-effective way to mitigate the urban heat island effect, created by pavement, buildings and other hard surfaces that absorb and retain heat. 

The urban forest provides shade and cooling on hot days, which help to build Yarra’s resilience to the effects of climate change.  

Additional climate emergency funding has accelerated our street tree planting program. This is one of many actions that Yarra is taking to address the climate emergency, alongside transitioning to renewable energy, supporting community-led climate action, advocating for urgent action by other levels of government and much more.  

Since Yarra adopted its Urban Forest Strategy in 2017:  

  • The area of tree canopy cover in Yarra has increased by 3.8% across the municipality. This represents an increase in tree canopy coverage of 127,876m²  equivalent to 7 Melbourne Cricket Grounds worth of additional tree canopy.
  • This increase takes Yarra’s total rate of canopy coverage from 17% to 17.7%, which is an important step towards our 2040 target canopy coverage of 21.25%.
  • Canopy cover in the public realm (excluding private property) has increased by 4.5% across the municipality. This increase takes Yarra’s rate of public realm canopy coverage from 23% to 24.4%.
  • The largest gains in tree canopy have been made in Yarra’s streetscapes, with an increase of over 6% canopy coverage across the municipality. Streetscapes are where the urban heat island effect is most acutely felt and where the benefit of trees is greatest.
  • The total number of street trees in Yarra has grown by more than 4,000 trees.

Learn more about how Yarra is managing our urban forest now and for generations to come in its Urban Forest Strategy.

Community members can also submit a request for a new street or park tree to be planted in Yarra.


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