Urban Forest

Stonnington's urban forest

Trees along Finch St Malvern

The City of Stonnington is known for its tree lined streets and established parks and gardens. We have significant mature avenues of deciduous and evergreen trees as well as trees of botanical and horticultural significance.

Council manages around 55,000 trees from 520 different species in the public realm including trees within our parks, streets, Council-managed facilities and in the Malvern Valley Golf Course. Our urban forest includes trees planted hundreds of years ago to trees that were planted just this year.

Our annual tree planting program includes replacing removed trees, infill planting, new park trees, street tree renewals and tree planting for major civic projects, like road reconstructions.

The urban forest

An urban forest is all the trees, shrubs and other vegetation growing across public and private land – including parks, reserves, private gardens, along railways and waterways, street trees and other green infrastructure such as green roofs and walls.

While the urban forest includes all of this, the most important and iconic element of an urban forest is its trees.

Trees provide shade, places for recreation and a sense of place and heritage. They also cool the city, capture rain, slow stormwater and provide habitat for birds and other animals.

Urban Heat Island Effect

The urban heat island effect is a phenomenon where urban areas are hotter than surrounding rural areas, caused by increasing urban development replacing natural surfaces like bush or grass land with dry and impermeable surfaces such as concrete and asphalt.

The urban heat island can increase the duration and intensity of heat waves, significantly affecting human health and comfort as well as local wildlife and vegetation. Hard surfaces absorb heat during the day and release it at night, resulting in higher night time temperatures.

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Vegetation helps cool cities

Vegetation can help to reduce the temperature of cities as trees shade buildings and pavement, reducing the temperature of these surfaces and the surrounding air. Vegetation also undergoes transpiration, which provides an additional cooling effect as water is transferred from the soil and through vegetation to the surrounding air.

Green roofs and walls provide buildings with shade and additional insulation, lowering temperatures within the building and energy consumption as there is reduced need for air-conditioning. Large green spaces, like parks and gardens, are cooler than surrounding streets, especially if these areas are irrigated. 

Biodiversity in the urban forest

Trees in Stonnington’s parks and open spaces provide habitat for local wildlife including the Tawny Frog Mouth, Superb Fairy Wren, Eurasian Coot and the Eastern Spine Bill.

Despite the urbanised landscape, the urban forest as a whole provides important habitat and food resources to help increase the city’s biodiversity and support natural ecosystems.

For further information, visit the Biodiversity page of our website.