Wednesday June 7, 2017
Wellington climbs to top of the tree for Arbor Day
An old rimu tree in Otari-Wilton’s Bush. PHOTO: Supplied
Wellington was celebrating Arbor Day this week at the top of the tree in the forest canopy cover stakes – and with plenty of plans to extend that lead over other New Zealand cities. Recent research shows canopy cover in Wellington is 47.5 percent, compared to 39 percent for Auckland and 21.9 percent for Christchurch. Councillor Peter Gilberd, Wellington City Council’s Natural Environment portfolio leader, said we should be proud of this result as trees benefit the capital in many ways. “Trees look beautiful, and are habitat for native birds, geckos, weta and plenty of other life. But trees also hold carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and produce oxygen. A mature tree can produce as much oxygen in a season as 10 people inhale in a year,” Mr Gilberd said. He is urging Wellingtonians to get out and plant a native tree in their backyards in the next few weeks.
“There’s a good reason Arbor Day is celebrated in New Zealand in early June. It’s the best time of the year in which to plant trees.” The council’s arboriculture team manager, Will Melville, said trees had also been proven to add to the liveability of a city, improve mental health, increase property value, hold banks together, block wind and provide shade, and act as giant coolers – deflecting or absorbing radiant energy from the sun. Arbor Day falls on June 5 every year, coinciding with World Environment Day, and in Wellington marks the start of the revegetation planting season. The city council staff will be working with community groups and schools to plant thousands of native plants in the next few weeks. Planting hotspots this winter will include Seton Nossiter Park in Newlands, the Stebbings Valley at Churton Park, as well as the Town Belt on Mount Victoria, and many coastal sites.
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Independent Herald 07-06-17