A New Urban Forest Strategy for Whitehorse

Council is developing a new 10 year Urban Forest Strategy.

Earlier this year we consulted with our community to gather information to assist with developing our Urban Forest Strategy. We now have a draft strategy and are seeking your feedback on the draft.

We want to know if we’ve got it right, or if we’ve missed something.

Tell us what you think by first viewing the Whitehorse Urban Forest Strategy 2021-2031 and then complete the online survey. Or you can email directly millie.wells@whitehorse.vic.gov.au with your thoughts.


Feedback closes on 30 May 2021.

Your feedback will help with developing a new Urban Forest Strategy and influence priorities for implementation.

If you have any further questions regarding the draft Urban Forest Strategy please contact Council's ParksWide Team on 9262 6333.

What you told us earlier this year

The top 3 most important reasons to have trees and vegetation in your local area are to:

  1. Provide habitat for local wildlife such as birds, butterflies and other animals.

  2. Cool local areas, provide shade and reduce urban heat.

  3. Improve the look and feel of the local area.


The most important priorities for a new Urban Forest Strategy should be:

  1. Growing more trees and improving the quality of vegetation in our parks, reserves and on Council owned land.

  2. Requiring more vegetation to be included in new development.

  3. Find new ways to include more vegetation in built up areas.


For a more detailed report of the findings from our first round of community engagement please download the report.



Trees offer many social, economic and environmental benefits, including:
·  Shade and cooling in our streets and open spaces
·  Cleaner air and water 
·  Habitat for native animals
·  Beauty, local pride and a sense of place
·  Connection to nature in the midst of the city
·  Improved property values in both residential and commercial areas.


Trees are one of our most valuable assets. A new strategy will help to strengthen the way we plan for and manage our trees, ensuring best-practice in tree protection, maintenance and succession planning across both private and public land.
The Urban Forest Strategy will set a clear direction for Council to follow to ensure a healthy urban forest for the future.

Canopy cover, rather than number of trees, is used to evaluate our urban forest. When looking down on Whitehorse from above we can estimate the total area of tree canopy that covers the Municipality.

Research shows that we can begin to reap social and environmental benefits from our urban forest when tree canopy cover exceeds 30%. Anything less, and there is generally not enough canopy cover to achieve the full benefits of the urban forest.

Often it is not just more trees, but more extensive and healthier canopy cover that has the greatest impact on shade and cooling. In many cases it may well be better to plant one larger tree with a bigger canopy, rather than many small trees with low canopy cover. However, planting larger trees within our suburbs can be difficult. We need to understand the opportunities for planting larger-canopied trees and identify the areas where smaller trees may be a better option.

The Urban Heat Island Effect is when heat from the sun is absorbed and stored by a city’s hard surfaces such as concrete and asphalt during the day and then radiates back into the air at night. Urban areas are often hotter than surrounding greener areas, especially in summer during heat waves. Trees are a good option for natural cooling in our urban environment. They are one of the most effective ways to mitigate the Urban Heat Island Effect.


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