Our Urban Forest

Urban forest is a term used to define the totality of trees and shrubs on all public and private land in and around urban areas.

The urban forest is recognised as a primary component of the urban ecosystem. It is one component of a complex built environment that includes roads, car parks, footpaths, underground and overhead services, buildings and other structures. Urban forest is an essential part of a "liveable" and economically sound community.

Managing Trees in North Sydney (1MB)

Managing Trees on Private Land (2MB)

Planting Trees in North Sydney (8MB)


Urban forest provides the following documented and proven benefits and outcomes:

Cool the City

Trees can reduce urban temperatures by up to 5º Celsius.

  • Shade from trees prevents the surrounding surfaces from heating up.
  • And water that is naturally transpired from leaves humidifies the air and when this humidity evaporates it cools the air.
  • Cooler cities means less use of air conditioners and subsequently less CO2 emissions from electricity generation.

Improve our Air Quality

One acre of forest absorbs six tons of carbon dioxide and puts out four tons of oxygen. This is enough to meet the annual needs of 18 people." -U.S. Department of Agriculture

  • Trees intercept and filter harmful gases and airborne particle pollution, such as car fumes to reduce air pollution
  • Trees absorb & store carbon locking up some of the excessive amounts contributing to climate change.

Improve Water Quality

A healthy urban forest can reduce the amount of runoff and pollutant loading in receiving waters in several ways:

  • Trees reduce the amount of stormwater by improving soil infiltration rates, and by taking up large volumes of water
  • Trees & vegetation intercept and store rainfall on the leaves, branch surfaces and trunk bark, delaying the onset of peak flows.
  • The urban forest reduces nutrient loadings by filtering nutrients from stormwater before it enters creeks and the harbour
  • The urban forest reduces erosion & sedimentation through the binding effects of roots, and by reducing the impact of raindrops on barren surfaces.

Enhance Liveability

Trees and vegetation are important to our health and well-being.

  • Urban neighbourhoods having large trees and quality landscapes experience lower crime rates
  • Patients in hospitals who have views of nature from their beds recover faster
  • Experiences of nearby nature reduce stress response (even when driving and commuting)
  • Children diagnosed with ADD show reduced symptoms after spending time in outdoor green spaces

Contribute to the Local Economy

  • Residential property values are enhanced by up to 20% by the presence of trees 
  • Rental rates are up to 7% higher for commercial office properties having a quality landscape
  • Consumers report being willing to spend up to 12% more in central business districts having large trees

Provide Habitat

  • Trees provide shelter and food for a diverse array of living organisms; from the micro-organisms that live in the soil around their roots through to insects, lizards, birds and larger animals such as possums that live in their canopies.