Why trees matter

Our precious urban forest

Urban forest is recognised as a vital component of the urban landscape which provides a range of important benefits for residents and visitors to the City. The urban forest is defined as the totality of all trees and shrubs on public and private land in and around urban areas (including bushland, open space, gardens and street trees) measured by its canopy cover.

Trees are potentially the largest and most significant element in the urban landscape. As such, they provide the greatest opportunity for the development of city identity and neighbourhood character. Given the importance of trees and other vegetation in people's daily experience, the role of trees in improving this can be broadly categorized into cultural, environmental, psychological and economic benefits.

Cultural value

Trees have a role in providing a sense of history, place and time within a community and tree planting on both public and private land is a result of a combination of factors, both physical and cultural. Contributing factors include the physical determinants of a place - landform, soil, rainfall and coastal influence - and the cultural determinants - time and form of settlement, land use, management practices, and the occurrence of important civic periods.

Given these formative factors, past and present tree planting can be seen, in part, as a reflection of a place and community over a period of time.

Environmental value

The value of trees in tempering undesirable climatic conditions is an important consideration. Trees reduce air temperature by filtering sunlight and reducing heat reflected by artificial surfaces such as bitumen, concrete, steel and glass. Public trees are of particular value in Randwick in providing summer shade for pedestrians and to a lesser extent providing shelter from the wind by reducing its speed. Trees are also useful in filtering dust particles and other pollutants from the air as well as providing psychological buffering from traffic noise.

Because of the often harsh environment along the exposed coastal strip of Randwick the protection and enhancement of existing wildlife corridors and fauna habitat is essential. This is why Council concentrates on planting indigenous and native vegetation as much as possible throughout the City.

Psychological value

Within the urban environment trees play an important role in the establishment of visual amenity and quality of life. They are significant in making urban environments more inviting to their users through providing visual interest and aesthetic benefits in terms of form, colour, foliage, flowers, etc. 

Trees can be used to screen undesirable views or activities, as well as providing a unifying element in streets or neighbourhoods.

Trees also provide psychological benefits which are difficult to quantify but which may include the sense of wellbeing people associate with trees and pleasant surroundings and a corresponding reduction in the psychological impact of a hard urban environment and a reduction in noise by diffusing, absorbing and masking sound.

Economic value

Street trees often increase property values by enhancing the visual appearance of the urban environment. Economic or monetary value can also be assigned to the environmental and climatic benefits trees bring to the community. For example, the careful placing of trees may decrease energy use for summer cooling and winter heating.

Trees are priceless community assets that are under constant pressure from urban consolidation and development and Council has therefore implemented a set of rules, regulations and controls to protect and preserve the integrity and character of the Randwick City area in order to provide valuable environmental benefits for us all.

These principles are incorporated into a range of documents, strategies and policies utilised by Council to protect and enhance the urban environment, including its Street Tree Masterplan (pdf 8.94MB), Street Tree Identification Manual, Register of Significant Trees and Tree Management Technical Manual (pdf 5.08MB).

Preserving our trees

See our section on Preserving our trees for details of how Randwick City Council acts on the community's behalf to prevent trees being lost through indiscriminate tree felling, property development, and other practices.

Significant trees

In order to identify and recognise the special importance of particularly significant trees in the landscape, Randwick City Council has adopted a comprehensive Register of Significant Trees.

Visit our Significant Tree Register page to see how Council plans to manage significant trees and ensure their protection for future generations.

Identifying a tree

Council has a Street Tree Identification Manual which can help you identify trees in your neighbourhood. Visit our Identify a tree section for more information.

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