Urban Forest Strategy for 2021-2031

Whitehorse City Council values the important contribution of trees and vegetation in making the municipality a vibrant place to live, work and visit. Across both private and public land, the ‘urban forest’ is an essential element within the City of Whitehorse.

Urban Forest Strategy

Council’s endorsed Urban Forest Strategy sets out the actions we will take to increase tree canopy cover in Whitehorse.

The urban forest objectives aim to achieve our target to increase the tree canopy cover to 30% in Whitehorse by 2050. Tree canopy cover is the amount of trees covering the ground when viewed from above. Tree canopies are vital because they reduce heat and provide shade. Reaching these targets involves working collectively throughout Council, with external organisations and alongside the community.

An ‘urban forest’ includes trees, shrubs and groundcover on public and private land and it has a number of benefits:

  • Shading and cooling during summer
  • Water retention reducing the risk of flooding
  • Improved community connectedness and wellbeing.

The strategy aims to achieve canopy cover of 30% in Whitehorse by 2050.


The City of Whitehorse faces a number of challenges resulting in a decline in tree canopy cover. Population increases, urbanisation and climate change place increasing pressure on the health and extent of the urban forest.

The strategy seeks to maximise the health and vigour of our urban forest; build urban resilience; enhance biodiversity and adapt to and mitigate climate change.

This strategy sets an urban forest vision that melds community aspirations, existing policies and strategies to guide Council to better protect, enhance and connect Whitehorse’s natural assets.

Vision and Objectives

The strategy’s vision is ‘a diverse, healthy and resilient urban forest’ and it outlines five key objectives:

  1. Protect the urban forest across private and public land
  2. Expand the urban forest and adapt to climate change
  3. Enhance biodiversity
  4. Build community capacity to learn from each other, protect and enhance the urban forest
  5. Build on Council’s knowledge base

If you’d like to learn more about the strategy and the five key objectives, you can download the document: