A MELVILLE council report has questioned how the CSIRO measures a city’s vegetation cover because it’s not taking into account the understorey.
The council commissioned a study by the McMullen Nolan Group to help it grapple with the seemingly competing plans for an urban forest and increased density.
The CSIRO found in 2009 that Melville had less than 20 per cent canopy coverage, but MNG says that’s a “two-dimensional approach” because it only looked at trees over three metres and didn’t consider the benefit of the understorey.
Even much-maligned grass got a tick from the consultants, who found it was the most thermally cool vegetation type, while deep-green exotic tree species also scored higher than natives because their foliage provides a deeper shade and cooler temperatures.
MNG said that under its methodology, Melville’s median and tree coverage was actually slightly over 40 per cent.
The council adopted its urban forest strategy recently and will now consult with residents to develop a strategy to implement it.
Comments on the urban forest strategy can be made at http://www.melvilletalks.com.au/urbanforest
by TRILOKESH CHANMUGAM