Can street trees weather climate change? ANU researchers are finding out

Posted August 24, 2018 18:01:16

Unpredictable and drastic weather is affecting the livelihood of the humble suburban street tree.

The expectation of harsher winters and hotter summers is forcing city planners to ensure tree-lined avenues stay green and resilient.

Researchers from the Australia National University (ANU) say they have witnessed the deaths of 100-year-old trees all around Canberra.

They have now partnered with the ACT Government to look ahead to the next century amid ever-changing weather conditions.

Root of the problem

Associate Professor Cristopher Brack’s work with ANU falls under the broad canopy of forestry.

Photo: A heatmap shows hotspots in land surface temperature of urban areas around Canberra. (Supplied: CSIRO)

He said particular streets around Canberra needed urgent attention, with trees having outlived their practical lifespans.

“For avenues to work, they’re all the same species, all the same age, all the same size,” he said.

“If you look across the whole street, every tree is doing the same thing.