Have you ever felt the need to declare your love to one of your favourite Melbourne trees? Perhaps devote to them a witty haiku, thanking them for their shade on blistering summers day?
Shady one above, whose leaves are so heaven sent, greenery adored.
Or maybe you want to tell them something less weird, like ‘Hey, looks like one of your branches is looking a little worse for wear’.
Well, whatever your reasoning, you can now email any one of Melbourne’s 70,000 registered trees. And not only that, but you’ll get a reply.
As part of its Urban Forest Strategy, first launched in 2007, Melbourne City Council has assigned identification numbers to all 70,000 of its trees and launched an interactive map (link here to Urban Forest Visual: http://melbourneurbanforestvisual.com.au/bigmap.html) where you can explore the data of each individual tree in central Melbourne.
The idea was allow the public to report damage and other problems to specific trees, but staff have been so overwhelmed with personal emails to the trees, they’ve taken some time to reply their behalf.
“An unintended but positive consequence was that instead of reporting problems with trees, people began writing letters about how much they love individual trees in the city,” says Melbourne City Councillor, Aaron Wood.
“The email interactions reveal the love Melburnians have for our trees. For example, one email came from workers who watered a tree outside the State Library so that the tree survived the drought.
“The emails show Melburnians know and respect the importance of trees in reducing heat in our city and increasing Melbourne’s liveability.”
While the intent of the website may not have been to bring members of the public closer to their spirit trees, the result is much greater public awareness.
By clicking on a tree on the interactive map, you can immediately see the type and age of any tree, as well as the state of its well-being. (screen shot of map when clicking on a tree, with legend) .
Not only this, but you can learn about other issues Melbourne’s trees are facing, like the lifespans of trees, the importance of diversity and the tree canopy projection in Melbourne City.
You can also read more about the councils plans for the city and workshops around the 10 different precincts.
Melbourne’s tree-scape is changing. Coming off a ten year drought, along with a long stretch of hot weather and the general aging of the trees, we can expect to lose 27 per cent of the current tree population in the next 10 years. And a whopping 44 per cent in the next 20 years.
The Urban Forest Strategy aims to both manage and combat this by laying in place a strategy that takes into account climate change and water availability among other things, and aims to engage the community in the rejuvenation of the city’s trees.
You can learn more about Melbourne’s plan to make our great city greener here
In the meantime, isn’t it time you poured your heart out to your favourite Green Leaf Elm in Fitzroy Gardens?
Founder of Treeincarnation