Your say on our revised urban forest strategy

Project Status: Closed

Public consultation period to

What we’re doing

Trees play a vital role in the future of Sydney. They are the largest living things in the urban environment and are a city’s life support system. A well-managed urban forest will improve our health and wellbeing, reduce the impact of heat, and bring nature into the city.

There are around 88,500 trees in the local area. This includes the City of Sydney’s 34,500 street trees and 14,000 park trees, and around 40,000 private trees. Collectively, the canopy of these trees covers 19.8% of the local area. 

The City of Sydney is one of only a few councils in Australia that consistently increased canopy cover over the past decade.

Following the adoption of our latest greening Sydney strategy in July 2021, we’ve now undertaken a review of our urban forest strategy.

This review ensures our tree canopy will continue to be managed for the benefit of the entire community and for future generations.

Our revised urban forest strategy aims to:

  • increase the quantity and quality of our urban tree canopy cover in streets, parks and properties 
  • distribute canopy more equitably across the local area
  • increase forest resilience by managing species diversity
  • mitigate the effects of urban heat
  • improve community mental and physical health outcomes.

Why we’re doing this

A green city with trees, plants and parks is a priority for our community.

As part of the consultation for our community strategic plan, Sustainable Sydney 2030–2050 Continuing the Vision, we asked the community to prioritise key strategic areas.

  • 77% of respondents want a green city with parks, trees and nature and 84% want to see more trees in local streets.
  • Of the 10 transformative ideas set out in the vision, ‘the green city’ was the idea that most respondents prioritised.

This strategy responds to the community’s vision for a greener city.

Mature trees shade an urban street.
Fig trees along Joynton Avenue and Mary O'Brien Reserve.

Our approach – 4 directions and 9 supporting actions

How we’ll get there – targets and supporting actions

We will increase our overall green cover to 40% across the local area, including a minimum of 27% tree canopy by 2050.

— Greening Sydney strategy

This strategy reports on the progress made over the past 10 years for canopy cover and reaffirms our target to increase our overall canopy cover to 23% by 2030 and to 27% by 2050, from the 2008 baseline of 15.5%.

As well as achieving our canopy cover targets, other key actions that will help us measure success include:

  • the equitable distribution of canopy cover across our local area 
  • an urban forest that includes diverse species and supports habitat for wildlife 
  • an urban forest that is managed for sustainability.

We will continue working with our communities and highlighting our shared role as caretakers of the forest.

Key changes

Several changes were made to the current strategy as part of the review process, these include:

  • More detailed analysis of land use to confirm the targets for canopy cover.  
  • A greater focus on coordination to successfully integrate of trees throughout the landscape.
  • Increased engagement and cooperation with land managers within and surrounding our area.
  • New methods of spatial analysis for greater community understanding on urban forest benefits and issues within their local area.
  • A focus on urban forest resilience in the face of a changing climate.

Species list

We have also developed a tree species list to help people plant trees that will thrive in our local area.

It has been developed with the assistance of professional arboricultural consultants, academics, landscape architects, an Indigenous consultant and experienced urban forest practitioners.

The list includes 300 tree species, so there is a broad range to choose from, to help guide planting in your property, or within our streets and parks.

Species list

Strategic context – greening Sydney

Our greening Sydney strategy outlines how we will increase greening across the city and share its benefits with the entire community.

Several supporting documents sit under the greening Sydney strategy. They cover specific areas and support the delivery of the actions outlined in the strategy.

This urban forest strategy outlines how our tree canopy (in streets, parks, and properties) will be managed for the benefit of the entire community and for future generations.

Our street tree master plan guides our future street tree planting. This plan has also been reviewed and is open for community feedback.

The City of Sydney’s tree management and donation policy sets the policy principles for all aspects of tree management in the City of Sydney local area. This policy has also been reviewed and is open for community feedback.

Read the draft strategy and provide your feedback

Urban forest strategy (draft)PDF · 10.42 MB · Last modified

How you can give feedback

Consultation closes at 5pm on Tuesday 28 February 2023.

Feedback may be published in publicly available reports at the end of the consultation period. Your name or organisation's name may appear in these reports with your feedback attributed. If you would like your feedback to be kept confidential, please let us know when making your contribution.

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