Creating urban forest for Melville not so simple

AS A retired forester, I would like to commend our mayor on his vision of an urban forest-like environment in the City of Melville, Plan to handle the heat, Times, May 26.

We lived in Dalkeith for some time and the micro-climate during the summer was a lot milder – perhaps there was a four-degree difference – compared to Melville.

However, the dream of an urban forest is probably too late for Melville.

1. The massive amount of strata-titling in Melville has meant the denudation of a huge amount of trees and greenery.

Houses are bulldozed, blocks are totally cleared and two brick-and-tile homes are often built in place, filling in the space and leaving little or no room for trees.

2. Above-ground powerlines mean that existing trees have to be pruned severely.

3. Deciduous trees give very good shade in the summer. Their fallen leaves disintegrate rapidly and they provide sunshine and warmth during the winter.

4. Selling public assets (school grounds, parks, bowling clubs etc) that provide green open space should never be allowed.

Dalkeith does not have the strata-titling issue, most powerlines are underground, street trees are often deciduous and form a closed canopy, providing a very attractive avenue.

Perhaps the Melville City will not achieve the micro-climate that exists, say, in Dalkeith.

Can the existing environment in Melville be improved? It can, if the council is serious about attempting to establish an urban forest.

KARL KELERS, Alfred Cove.