Track­ing Auck­land’s bi­o­log­i­cal her­itage

East and Bays Courier - - P13 P46 - JAMES PASLEY

Auck­lan­ders have a new tool to help track the city’s tree her­itage.

The Tree Coun­cil, a non-profit or­gan­i­sa­tion es­tab­lished in 1986 to act as a stew­ard for trees in Auck­land, is launch­ing a mo­bile app this week that will en­able the pub­lic and ar­borists to record trees they value, trees be­ing re­moved or trees al­ready gone.

In 2015 the Gov­ern­ment amended the Re­source Man­age­ment Act (RMA), which re­moved pro­tec­tion of trees in ur­ban ar­eas, and lim­ited Auck­land Coun­cil’s pro­tec­tion of no­table or sched­uled trees.

Tree Coun­cil chair and ar­borist Sean Free­man said the ra­tio­nale for the app was to try and cre­ate an ac­ces­si­ble, use­ful re­port­ing tool to mon­i­tor Auck­land’s ur­ban tree cov­er­age loss.

While Auck­land Coun­cil had satel­lite im­agery of Auck­land’s tree cov­er­age, it didn’t give an ac­cu­rate as­sess­ment of what was tak­ing place on the street level, he said.

‘‘This is a ground-truthing tool,’’ Free­man said.

What be­came clear dur­ing Uni­tary Plan hear­ings was that there wasn’t enough data to as­sess how Auck­land’s tree cov­er­age was chang­ing, Free­man said.

‘‘It will add a lot of weight to sub­mis­sions that are made dur­ing re­source con­sent ap­pli­ca­tions about the im­por­tance of re­tain­ing trees.’’

The app, which was de­signed by Steven Mcleod, would have two lev­els of use.

Once down­loaded the pub­lic would be able to en­ter ba­sic in­for­ma­tion about a tree, take a photo and add GPS co­or­di­nates.

Ar­borists would be able to en­ter more spe­cialised in­for­ma­tion such as habi­tat type, lo­ca­tion, health, size, whether the tree was sched­uled and rea­son for work­ing on it.

‘‘Sadly the driver for this is the pres­sure and re­sult­ing loss of ur­ban for­est that we’re see­ing across the city,’’ Free­man said.

Auck­land Coun­cil data showed across the city ur­ban trees cover on av­er­age 18 per cent of land, but fluc­tu­ated from 8 per cent to 74 per cent be­tween sub­urbs.

‘‘Some sub­urbs are so dis­pro­por­tion­ately lack­ing in canopy cov­er­age, like O¯ ta¯ huhu, that you can­not af­ford to lose what few trees you’ve got.’’

The app launch is part of New Zealand Tree Week to help peo­ple bet­ter un­der­stand the role and value of trees in the ur­ban en­vi­ron­ment.

The week runs un­til Oc­to­ber 15.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.