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Completed project

Global review of incentive schemes for the retention and successful establishment of trees on private urban land (NY18002)

Key research provider: The University of Melbourne
Publication date: Thursday, May 28, 2020

What was it all about?

Trees on private urban land (land owned and managed by private landowners) are central to the ongoing plans of many global cities to increase urban canopy-cover. As a part of the project, the researchers gathered expert opinions and reviewed case studies on the approaches that cities have used to retain, protect, and plant trees on private lands.

Two workshops were held in mid-2019, one in Cologne, Germany and one in Paris, France, to consult with international experts (urban forest leaders). Consultations indicated that urban trees were mostly being lost on private land due to policies that supported urban densification and due to vague boundaries between public and private lands. Being specific about private land was a key recommendation identified to counter this problem.

Reviews of almost 100 case studies from around the world were undertaken and found most cities were governed by local laws and regulations in relation to removing or retaining trees. Refinement of local laws such as implementing further up-front tree removal payments, keeping track of protected trees and financial rebate programs were identified as potential solutions to retain more tree cover in private urban areas.

Researchers found that newer urban developments were most likely to go above minimum local law standards, though, their effectiveness in retaining tree cover requires longer term monitoring. Considerations identified for retaining tree cover in private urban land developments were the provision of tree bonds (where a payment is required prior to a development commencing) and tax rebates for retaining or planting trees in newly developed or re-developed sites.

Importantly, community support in the form of social activism aimed at protecting trees and the expressing of values and attitudes towards tree protection and local government were key factors in retaining and protecting private trees.

While government has a large role to play, protecting tree cover in private urban spaces requires a mix of support in local government and the community to ensure the success of private tree protections.

Related levy funds

978 0 7341 4600 7

Funding statement:
This project was funded through the Hort Innovation Nursery Fund using the nursery R&D levy and contributions from the Australian Government.

Copyright © Horticulture Innovation Australia Limited 2020. The Final Research Report (in part or as a whole) cannot be reproduced, published, communicated or adapted without the prior written consent of Hort Innovation, except as may be permitted under the Copyright Act 1968 (Cth).