Media response - urban tree canopy targets

Published on 02 May 2024

Response to CityMag.

  • Are you able to confirm some numbers for me please? I am looking specifically at urban area tree canopy cover, not the broader council area.

Comments attributed to Acting Director Planning, Matthew Lawrence

As per the Green City 2017- 2022 strategic plan, the City of Onkaparinga’s average tree canopy cover in urban areas is 12.5 per cent. Is this the latest figure of the City of Onkaparinga’s urban cover?

12.5 per cent is our baseline urban canopy cover from 2017. The Green City Strategic Management Plan 2017-2022 has been superseded by our Climate Change Response Plan 2022-2027 as the council’s main sustainability strategic document. Green Adelaide’s recent tree canopy data was released last month and we’re in the process of analysing the data for our urban areas. Our analysis so far indicates we’ve had positive increases in our urban canopy cover, and we’ll be releasing this data as soon as our analysis is complete.  

The City of Onkaparinga’s target set out in this strategic plan was to increase urban green cover by 20 per cent by 2045. The City of Onkaparinga are interpreting this as a 20 per cent increase on their current cover, meaning 20% of 12.5 (so, an overall increase of 2.5%) should be met by 2045. Therefore, the City of Onkaparinga should have an overall urban green cover of 15% by 2045. Is this the correct, current target?

This is technically still the current target, however we’re currently reviewing this with a report going to Council in the coming months. The current target was aligned to the state government’s 30-Year Plan For Greater Adelaide, which is understood to also be under review.

Through One Tree Per Child, the city of Onkaparinga is clearly valuing planting. Is strengthening the protection of existing trees and preventing tree removal a component to the council’s plan to meet its urban canopy target also?

Green Adelaide’s latest data shows existing mature trees provided a significant proportion of the recent growth in canopy, including in Onkaparinga, so key a key focus for us is minimising tree loss as much as we can to build our canopy even further. The City of Onkaparinga has been a vocal advocate for changes to the state government’s planning system and improving legislation to better protect trees. This has included a submission and presentation as part of the Parliamentary Inquiry in to the Urban Forest and multiple submissions as part of the planning reforms.