Concern at canopy loss


Arbor Carbon's graphic showing tree canopy higher than three metres coloured in yellow.
Arbor Carbon's graphic showing tree canopy higher than three metres coloured in yellow.

“You’re certainly going to lose tree canopy if you bowl it all over – about that there’s no doubt,” Arbor Carbon director and Murdoch University associate professor Paul Barber said.

Defence Housing Australia’s proposal to demolish the 22ha coastal village for 140 private lots and 165 new soldiers’ homes is being reassessed after a Federal Government review.

DHA is also subject to a separate Senate Committee inquiry that includes the role of land sales.

In February, East Perth-based Arbor Carbon found the loss of 12ha of tree canopy in the City of Nedlands in the past two years was more than neighbouring suburbs.

Last week, Arbor Carbon calculated Seaward’s demolition could affect 25,000sq m of tree canopy higher than three metres, among about 70,000sq m of vegetation in the village, which Professor Barber said had many non-native and exotic tree species.

He said redevelopment could result in the loss of more than 3 per cent of all vegetation and more than 4 per cent of tree canopy in Swanbourne, resulting in a 1 per cent loss of both vegetation and tree canopy in the City.

“The village’s canopy is in soldiers’ streets and backyards, keeping it cool and quiet, and it is an essential part of the coastal vegetation corridor, so any reduction would certainly be opposed by residents,” Friends of Allen Park Bush Care Group president Lesley Shaw said.

Nedlands Mayor Max Hipkins said the City’s tree cover could have been affected by bushfires near Underwood Avenue in 2014 but the council was “very conscious” of canopy loss and had increased funding for new trees.