Victoria Park, Australia

Photo by Aleisha Hunter

Photo by: Pierre Quesnel

Photo by Derrin Kee

Photo by Petra Vanessie

Photo by Derrin Kee.

Photo by Derrin Kee.

Photo by Kat Wray

Initiative: Act Local, Contribute Global to World Biodiversity Conservation

World Green City Awards 2022 Logo
City:Town of Victoria Park
Country:Australia
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The south-west of WA is one of 36 global biodiversity hotspots, which represent only 2.4% of the Earth’s total land surface but is home to 60% of its species. The Town of Victoria Park’s Jirdarup Bushland contains a multitude of the endemic flora species that makes the south-west of WA a biodiversity hotspot.

However, development and urbanisation has been rapid, and the loss of urban tree canopy is having both a direct and indirect impact not only on the endemic species at the Bushland but also upon the quality of health and amenity enjoyed by local residents. In 2016, our Town had a canopy cover of 10% of land area – one of the lowest in Perth and significantly less than is required for a healthy urban environment.

Community concerns about this trend resulted in the development of the Town’s first Urban Forest Strategy (UFS) in 2018. Since then, the Town’s Urban Forest team has developed eight specific programs that are implemented annually during planting season (June – September) to increase our canopy coverage to 20%.

A core strategy of the Urban Forest program is the collection of seed from endemic shrubs and trees in the Jirdarup bushland (over 40 species included) and working with specialist nurseries to propagate this seed into plant stock for use in the various Urban Forest activities. This encourages the spread of these precious species beyond Jirdarup Bushland – or “jumping the fence” – through our planting programs that encourage community involvement in delivering this green infrastructure.

Through these programs, we aim to conserve biodiversity and encourage the spread of local ecosystems throughout homes, streetscapes, parks and other spaces throughout our Town. Our programs include:

  • Urban Forest at Home – free local provenance trees and shrubs for residents to plant at their own private gardens.
  • Vic Park Leafy Streets – planting trees on verges, encouraging residents’ involvement to care for them.
  • Community planting days – Two whole of Town, and four street based, community planting events with our community in parks and/or other public spaces around Town identified as suitable for creating an Urban Ecosystem.
  • Urban Ecosystems – tree and low shrub planting at public areas, parks and verges to increase canopy cover, reduce urban heating and increase biodiversity using flora propagated from Jirdarup Bushland.
  • Friends of Jirdarup – community volunteers conducting annual planting of endemic species’ seeds at the Bushland.

The benefits of this biodiversity focus on our Urban Forest program go beyond environmental outcomes of a healthier and stronger place for all of us to live in.

Our Urban Forest programs have identified social benefits that include community bonding through community planting events, deeper understanding and appreciation of urban greening (the Town expressed this through their vote for Councillors who prioritised Greening Vic Park) and a sense of contributing to the greater good – that the simple, local act of planting have a powerful impact on global diversity, strengthening our environment for the benefit of our other fellow community members around the world.