Melbourne's brilliant digital strategy to save trees.

by The REJIGIT Blog

By 2009 approximately 40% of Melbourne’s stock of about seventy seven thousand significant trees were struggling and in some cases dying as a consequence of prolonged drought. If the city lost too many of its threatened trees, it could fundamentally change the way Melbourne looked..

In 2013, Melbourne’s Environment Portfolio resolved to use a digital platform in an attempt to help manage the situation. They mapped all of the pre-eminent trees in the city and in the process of doing so, assigned each tree an individual ID number and an individual email address. The ID scheme allows citizens to interact, in as much as, they can email whether a tree is dropping limbs or if it looks like it is in a serious physical state and the appropriate city authority can more easily locate threatened trees and intervene.

Aside from the very laudable nature of the scheme itself, there has been an unexpected and extraordinary side effect. Several thousand emails have been sent to individual trees with messages for the trees.

One of the more popular trees is a 13m tall Golden Wych Elm (ID 1028612) on Punt Road estimated to be about 70 years old.

Melbourne also has a Urban Forest Strategy which provides for 3000 new trees to be planted in the city each year.

Explore Melbourne's urban forest