The City of Launceston council has endorsed its first urban greening strategy, which sets a target of planting 18,000 trees in an effort to double the city's canopy coverage.
Councillors unanimously endorsed the Urban Greening Strategy 2023-2040 at this week's council meeting with the goal of creating a "resilient, connected and diverse" urban forest across the city.
The strategy's vision is to contribute to the "health and wellbeing of the community" and the city's vibrancy, livability and sustainability.
The strategy has been in the works for more than a year and replaces the Street Tree Strategy 2012, and represents a shift from managing individual trees to the city's entire urban forest.
Launceston's urban forest - made up of all the trees, shrubs, grassland and other vegetation, growing on public and private land within the city - currently covers around 19 per cent of the urban area, which is well below the national standard of 39 per cent.
Launceston mayor Matthew Garwood said the strategy recognises that urban forests have economic, social and cultural benefits and can help conserve biodiversity, maintain soil and water values and mitigate against heat impact and climate change.
"While some parts of our community have good canopy cover, many parts still do not," Cr Garwood said.
While some parts of our community have good canopy cover, many parts still do not. The strategy will help us identify appropriate future locations for greenery across our city.- City of Launceston mayor Matthew Garwood
"The strategy will help us identify appropriate future locations for greenery across our city in consultation with the community so that we get some really great outcomes."
The strategy contains targets under five distinct themes: retaining and increasing canopy cover to 40 per cent; improving urban forest diversity and resilience; supporting biodiversity and conservation; developing infrastructure to support the targets; and increasing community knowledge and participation.
To improve the urban forest's diversity, the strategy targets that there can be no more than five per cent of any tree species, no more than 10 per cent of any genus and no more that 20 per cent of any tree family.
Biodiversity health checks are also planned, and the implementation of a vegetation condition assessment to ensure improvement of the city's urban biodiversity.
The strategic plan will also be assisted in its efforts by an existing Memorandum of Understanding with the Launceston Chamber of Commerce, which pushed for a combined effort to enhance Launceston's central green spaces by increasing the number of street trees, plantings and arbour systems across the urban realm.
Council also has key partnerships with other tiers of government and community groups which they said would assist in achieving the goals set.
"The Urban Greening Strategy sets out a bold target," Cr Garwood said.
"It's an exciting vision for the future, and one the City of Launceston is looking forward to implementing."