LocalMatters       

Tree coverage analysed

Posted at 12:07pm Tuesday 01 Oct, 2019

According to Auckland Council, this area is doing better than many in terms of its “urban forest” – the amount of tree canopy cover it has.

Council has been developing a strategy to address concerns about loss of tree cover resulting from development, disease, climate change and changes to tree protection rules, since 2017. The resulting Urban Ngahere (Forest) Strategy report was presented to the Hibiscus & Bays Local Board last month.

The report found that this local board area (which includes the northern North Shore) has good overall tree canopy coverage at 25 percent of the overall land area – the average for the Auckland region is 18 percent. Council has set its target at 15 percent coverage or more for Auckland as a whole.

However, while 25 percent was described at the meeting by one local board member, David Cooper, as “having plenty of trees”, member Chris Bettany said there is no reason for complacency.

Noting that 70 percent of this local tree cover is on private land, Chris said that this makes it extremely vulnerable, with large numbers of trees being cut down in residential areas since the tree protection rules changed.

This is especially happening as development intensifies in residential areas with few new sections having space for gardens large enough to contain trees.

The report says that in this area, 22 percent of tree cover is in parks and reserves and just six percent on roads, which the report notes is low. A further two percent is on other publicly owned sites, such as Ministry of Education land.

With development rapid in this region, it is worth noting that this data is already quite old – it is based on an aerial analysis done in 2013.

The “latest”, 2016, data showing changes in canopy cover will be added once it is ready later this year and the updated results will be presented to the local board early next year.

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