3. Trees in the city

3.3 What we can do

Species like the Common Brushtail Possum depend on mature trees to survive. Photo: Ryan Colley

To protect our trees, we need to reduce the threat from climate change and the pressure on trees from land development. We need to protect mature trees, adopt water-sensitive design (urban designs that intercept rainfall runoff so it can used to improve the urban environment, including making water available for trees), and get the community involved in looking after our trees.

Some tree species in Canberra are already stressed from higher temperatures and long periods of low rainfall, and many more will struggle with the climate conditions expected in the future. It is important to avoid planting tree species that will not survive. We need to plant native species that can tolerate current, and more importantly, future climate change in the ACT.

The best trees for planting in the ACT under climate change scenarios include Kurrajong Evergreen (Brachychiton populneus) and the River She-oak (Casuarina cunninghamiana). Diversity of species is important, as planting single species increases the risk of significant tree loss if conditions become unsuitable for them.

What can you do?

  • Use the Actsmart Canberra Plant Selector Guide to choose plants suitable for the Canberra region. Here you can choose plants based on plant type, light availability, water requirements and frost tolerance. The Canberra Ornithologist Group has a guide to attracting native birds to your backyard.
  • If you want to help plant trees in public spaces and local reserves, there are volunteer groups that seek community involvement in tree-planting and maintenance programs. Search for a volunteer group in your area.