Planting a green future

With housing density increasing and the urban tree canopy in Australia’s capital cities shrinking, a nationwide network of businesses has come together to ensure people still see green when they look out the window.

Australia’s largest wholesale nursery Benara, who has provided greenery for some of Perth’s largest construction projects including Elizabeth Quay, is spearheading the movement in WA.

The movement, called 202020 Vision, started in 2013 and aims to make urban areas 20 per cent greener by 2020.

Started by Horticulture Innovation Australia and funded by the Nursery and Garden Industry Australia, it has grown into Australia’s biggest network of green space experts, creators and supporters, with more than 200 organisational partners, 1000 individual supporters and 29 strategic experts.

They are aiming to improve green space by providing guides on establishing urban forests and green space as well as identifying areas in dire need of some trees.

Benara sales and marketing manager Carole Fudge says they joined because it was important for their industry to not sit back as gardens shrunk.

“We didn’t want to sit on our laurels and watch this happen, so I suppose we wanted to raise the awareness of green space and the disconnect from nature that the pace of life is putting people through now,” she says.

Fudge says they’re already making headway in several areas.

“There’s a lot of initiatives around parks (and) making them useable,” she says. “The days of the 1980s where a park is an area of turf with some goal posts at either side and very little shade are gone.

“Now they’re trying to do park activation, trying to make them more friendly, trying to bring the community together, grow more shady trees and better designed playgrounds.

“They’re also changing the minds of councils on verge planting. Whereas if you touched the verge in the past councils were on you like a tonne of bricks. Now there’s a complete reversal on that policy.”

Current research suggests trees are also good for commerce.

A recent US Department of Agriculture study found customers would pay nine to 12 per cent more for goods sold in CBD’s with a high-quality tree canopy.

Fudge says while nurseries would benefit by providing the plants for a greener Australia, the ultimate winner are Australian residents and businesses.

“We’re going to have a much nicer environment to live in,” she says.

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