9 Jan 2014

Lack of trees a serious health concern for Perth

Curtin University researchers have found the removal of tree canopy as part of urban infill may worsen health problems associated with climate change.

Ms Helen Brown, from Curtin University’s School of Public Health, said the impacts of climate change were already being experienced around the world, affecting food, water, air, and, ultimately health. The research aimed to address the dual challenge of climate challenge and increasing urbanisation in Perth and provide recommendations to create a healthier, more climate-resilient city, to benefit future generations.

While climate change is a global phenomenon, adaptation is a local affair.

“We know that loss of tree canopy is a significant contributor to the creation of UHIs and that the effects of UHIs can be reduced by green spaces and vegetation,” said Ms Brown.
“Trees have been shown to provide multiple benefits to people and the environment, and international and national support for the retention and planting of urban trees is strong.

“Unfortunately, some areas of Perth are currently experiencing significant reductions in tree canopy due to a lack of adequate policy, regulation and awareness of the issue.

“Without appropriate intervention, we may find ourselves in a situation where the expected increases in extreme temperatures from climate change are made worse by planning decisions taken today.
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