Better urban forest planning: A guide to support the enhancement of urban forests in Western Australia


The trees on public and private land across our suburbs make up our urban forests. They enhance our urban areas and bring many benefits to both the community and the environment.

Better Urban Forest Planning is a guide developed by the State of Western Australia that helps local governments and the community plan and manage urban forests, with the view to enhancing urban tree canopy. It is a useful resource for those interested in urban forests in Victoria, as the report shares Western Australia’s best practise in urban forest management. It provides guidance and case studies on:

  • urban forests and why they are important;
  • Local Government sector key issues;
  • the strategic planning of urban forests;
  • the importance of community and stakeholder engagement;
  • controls within the planning system and how they can be applied and;
  • tree canopy and vegetation data management.

This guide aims to support the planning, enhancement, retention and maintenance of urban trees. It advocates for:

  • incorporation of urban trees as an essential, rather than optional, component in the urban development process as advocated in Design WA planning policy;
  • increasing the amount of tree canopy coverage in an area over a given time;
  • recognition of the benefits and values of existing trees by the entire community and among decision makers;
  • protection of established trees in parks, streets, public spaces and private spaces;
  • better use of planning controls to protect and incorporate trees into development; and
  • increasing the diversity of species planted in the appropriate locations.

Urban forests can also help Local Governments achieve sustainable development goals (SDGs) through contributing to enhanced amenity and quality in urban environments and helping to mitigate and build resilience to climate change.

To download the guide, visit the Government of Western Australia website.