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A recent Conservation Council study estimated that Adelaide is losing about 75,000 trees a year. We submit that this is due to a range of factors including population growth, housing densification policy, life-style changes, a failure of the planning system to reserve space around built structures for vegetation and trees, weak legislative protection for existing trees, commercial development and powerline clearance. Government must encourage Council policies and tree species selection.
Trees provide many benefits in the urban setting, including summer shade, habitat for urban wildlife, residential amenity, improvements in psychological well-being, amelioration of sound, pollution and some protection from wind. Climate change has brought a renewed interest in urban trees as awareness of the “urban heat island effect” has grown. This effect is the increase in urban temperatures as trees are removed to make way for more people and buildings. It has been observed in cities across the world. Without urban trees Adelaide would be three to four degrees hotter in summer. Climate change is increasing average temperatures.
More details are in the SPRA Submission to the Parliamentary Enquiry into Adelaide's Urban Forest.