Tree loss = sweaty suburbs

Tree less suburbs hit hard by the "heat island" effect

Tree loss = sweaty suburbs

and the households that can least afford it are feeling the heat

Posted on 03.03.2020

Money might not grow on trees, but it’ll probably buy you a place with more of them.

And more trees in your street can make a big difference, not only keeping things less hot and sticky at home, but also saving you money.

The problem is that in many suburbs trees are disappearing — and the resulting “thermal inequity” affects the people who can least afford it.

Urban and environmental planner Tony Matthews says between 2008 and 2017, Australia’s major metropolitan areas cumulatively lost 2.6 per cent of their vegetation — which adds up to an area larger than Brisbane.

Fewer trees — combined with more hard surfaces like roads, pavements, and rooftops — can create an urban “heat island” effect.

“Cities become artificially hotter … and that can be variable across the city and much more severely felt in some parts than others,” Dr Matthews, who lectures at Griffith University, tells ABC RN’s Life Matters.

He says the people really feeling the heat are those on the urban fringe, which is often they only place they can afford to live.

Many of those people don’t have the option of simply turning up the air conditioning.

“Many of these people are renters, so they can really not afford this. And more than that, they can’t actually do anything about their situation,” Dr Matthews says.

“They’re not in a situation where they could, for example, put solar panels on the roof to offset the cost of air conditioning.”

Read Full Story

Landscape architect Libby Gallagher says trees, especially those that can provide direct shade to buildings, can act as “natural air conditioning units for many neighbourhoods”.

It can make a huge difference.

“Some of the research indicates up to three degrees, in some circumstances that can be as high as six to seven degrees centigrade,” she says.

“That actually has a big effect on health, as well as obviously electricity bills and consumption.”

“Many people are very keen to see increased canopy in the cities.”

Nick Wiggins
ABC News





Have a story to tell or news to share?

Let us know by Submitting a News Story

Discover Queensland

Explore all of Queensland’s adventures.

Start Exploring

What's On



Scenic Rim Enduro Series Rd 2

Come Join us at the 2nd Gravity Enduro round for 2020.

Read more



Kooralbyn Valley MTB 12hr/24hr or 6+6 Endurance

Kooralbyn Valley MTB 24hr Endurance Dusk til Dawn
Read more



Canoe Leader Training Course

Is it time to get recognised qualifications for your outdoor recreation skills?
Read more

Latest News

COVID-safe plans for field sports & fitness

Queensland chief health officer approves industry plans

Read more
Cycling Boom puts focus on keeping riders safe

Focus on keeping riders safe

Read more
Volunteer Marine Rescue QLD funding uncertain

Volunteer Marine Rescue Queensland calls for urgent decision on funding future

Read more

Become a member

We welcome applications for new Community and Green Circle Members from organisations and individuals involved in the outdoors

Learn More
Tail Lights by Georgina Pratten