Victoria Park, Australia

Photo by Aleisha Hunter

Innovative and Collaborative Solution

How does the initiative show evidence of feasibility, including on-going financial and logistical support?

A 5 year commitment: It is hard to find a single act that could have a larger positive impact on the environment than simply planting a tree. When this act is performed on a mass scale the environmental benefits are immense. This 5 year focus on the Urban Forest implementation constitutes a lasting legacy of this current Vic Park community, Elected Members and Town officers.

Dedicated Place Planning Leadership: Overall coordination of the implementation is the responsibility of the Place Leader – Urban Forest who is one of seven Place Leaders that form the Town’s Place Planning team. Place Planning is a multidisciplinary team that provides place based strategic planning for the Town. Embedding the implementation of the UFS within Place Planning has ensured green infrastructure is considered within the overall strategic planning of the Town’s urban environment and is utilised as a place enhancing device.

A part of the Town’s Strategic Community Plan and Place Plans: There is no greater indication of the Town’s wide responsibility of implementing the UFS than the inclusion of UFS objectives within the Town’s principle strategy and planning document, the Strategic Community Plan (SCP – https://www.victoriapark.wa.gov.au/About-Council/Council-documents/Integrated-planning-and-reporting-framework/Strategic-Community-Plan)

The SCP reflects the community long-term vision, values, aspirations and priorities.and includes En7 “increased vegetation and tree canopy.”  This has set urban greening as a key priority of the community for the Town to deliver.

City Tree Policies: Significant policy and practice developed to support the Town’s continued focus on a healthy and thriving urban forest https://www.victoriapark.wa.gov.au/Around-town/Environment/Urban-Forest-Strategy/Urban-Forest-Programs/UFS-Planning-Policy-Objectives

In what ways is the initiative innovative?

Technique innovation

The seed collection at Jirdarup and Kensington Bushlands is an involved process, which starts with waiting for the reason to collect the seeds from the fruiting bodies, storing them in a seed bank before they are propagated (grown) in specialist nurseries. The propagation process often requires specialised facilities and techniques that often mirror the way the seeds grow naturally, for example adding smoke to imitate bushfire conditions. It takes up to eight to nine months for this process until the seeds become seedlings, ready for planting.

Delivery innovation

To support the seed dispersion of the endemic species from the busland, other typical bushland restoration techniques have also been employed within an urban context including dry planting, large scale soil amelioration, site preparation and ongoing maintenance programs. The Town has worked with The Biodiversity and Conservation Science team based at Kings Park – one of the world’s largest inner-city park – on a smoking treatment, which mimics the natural process of dormant seeds to receive specific fire cues and emerge as seedlings in a relatively resource-rich post-fire environment. Successful smoking treatment can help the successful planting of many seeds of endemic plants, shrubs and trees.

Implementation innovation

As mentioned, to help the endemic species to “jump the fence” of the Bushlands, we have developed innovative implementations involving residents, including Urban Forest at Home, Community Planting, Street Trees planting and using the propagated seeds together with other local species selection for all planting activities.

How is the initiative supported by collaborative working across disciplines and sectors?

Our Urban Forest Place Leader works hand-in-hand with the Town’s other service areas so all projects are planned and delivered as a team, with Place Leaders ensuring the Towns work is relevant and specific to the needs of each neighbourhood and its people. This has ensured the implementation of the UFS is not siloed within a single department but is within the strategic objectives of multiple service areas including, parks, environment, natural areas, engineering, community development, statutory planning, engagement, communications, and events teams.

The urban forest implementation and its focus on seed propagation is shared across all of the Town’s service areas and has successfully seen:

1. statutory planning team implementing local planning policy changes,

2. engineering proposing greening opportunities within road and footpath upgrade projects,

3. events team leading community planting days, maintenance operators proposing urban greening projects, and,

4. the natural areas team moving out of typical remnant bushland preservation into the suburbs and expanding the Town’s urban bushland,

5. community members, parents and students at schools and environmental youth organisations are helping to implement planting programs on private land and raise awareness of our urban forest, together with the Urban Forest teams. Examples include an aged care facility working with its residents, landscape architects and aborists to create a connected canopy cover garden using native species and a school where every class year adopts a local tree they plant, water and nurture with their parents, local Elders and high school buddies:

https://www.victoriapark.wa.gov.au/Around-town/Environment/Urban-Forest-Strategy/Get-involved-in-our-urban-forest-in-2022/Urban-Forest-Grants

How does the initiative demonstrate evidence of community support?          

Urban Forest Grants

The Town has successfully delivered two rounds of Urban Forest Grants in 2020 and 2021. This has created deep involvement by enabling local groups and their extended community to deliver their own initiatives. Local primary schools, aged care facilities, and local planting groups have been involved to date, approximately providing 50 hours of volunteer time per grant. With 5 successful grants to date, our community has contributed 250 hours, planted planted 49 trees, 480 shrubs contributing 2661m² projected canopy.

Community planting

Since 2020, the Town has organised 4 Town wide community planting days, and 4 street focused planting events, planting a mix of local selected and endemic species. Approximately 100 community members attend for 3 hours per event. To date, contribution is 1200 hours and 7383 trees planted.

Green Basins program

Four Green Basins projects were implemented this year, with involvement from the community mainly driven by local residents who coordinate and communicate through their own local channels. We estimated 100 residents participation, contributing approximately 200 volunteer hours to the planting of drainage basins in Town.

Friends of Jirdarup Kensington Bushland Biodiversity Plantings

Annually, the Friends of Jirdarup have voluntarily worked in partnership with the Town to plant more native seedlings in Kensington Bushland. Since 2020, the Friends planted 356 tree seedlings and 2,771 shrubs to provide the Town with a projected canopy cover of 13,230 m²