Where Will all the Trees Be report now live

The ‘Where Will all the Trees Be’, Urban Canopy Benchmarking Report, is now available.

Led by RMIT University, Greener Spaces Better Places and funded by Hort Innovation, this report provides longitudinal research results from 131 Local Government Areas (LGA) on urban green cover increase and decline. The research promotes the importance and value of green cover to urban liveability, particularly in the context of ongoing population growth and the expansion of Australian cities and suburbs.

The research

Building on the previous ‘Where Are All The Trees’, and ‘Where Should All The Trees Go’ reports, this research has sought to:

  • Understand to what extent factors such as urban density, population growth and effort influence local councils’ ability to increase or maintain their urban green cover.
  • Identify ‘Best on Ground’ councils who, despite a range of challenges, are finding innovative ways to protect and increase their urban green cover.
  • Capture the broader community’s imagination and understanding of the value of urban green cover by translating ‘targets’ and ‘percentages of cover’ into a more tangible vision for the future, through imagery and an interactive ‘search my postcode’ tool.

Research for this report looked at the rate of increase and decline of urban greening across Australia through the lens of six different place types determined by rainfall, urbanisation and population density.

By separating into place types, the team were able to compare performance within and across cities to better understand what improvement might be possible with concerted effort, and what deterioration might occur with complacency.

Browse the interactive ‘search my postcode’ tool at the bottom of the site, here.

Key takeaways

  • Research revealed that 67% of suburbs and cities across Australia will face significant challenges in growing and maintaining green cover in the future, as our cities grapple with a rising population and grey cover expansion due to urban development. It also confirms the majority (69%) of our urban LGAs have lost green cover (trees and shrubs) since 2013.
  • 71/131 urban LGAs have a challenge factor rating of ‘high’ or ‘very high’ when it comes to taking action to reverse this trend.

What’s next?

Communications for Where Will all the Trees Be, will roll out in three phases:

  1. There was a general launch to announce the results of the canopy benchmarking. Activities included an industry-facing webinar, national media campaign and targeted stakeholder outreach to key urban greening industry groups and influencers.
  2. Deep dive into the findings of the national LGA survey, which will help to better understand the challenges and barriers that councils face with undertaking urban greening activities.
  3. Provide insights into how the industry can use the report to effectively contribute to solutions that overcome the barriers identified in the council survey analysis. Keep an eye out for more on this, to come!

Relationship and stakeholder management work is ongoing, which has led to Greener Spaces Better Places being included in key decision-making documents such as the inclusion of nature category in the GBCA’s new Green Star rating tool.


A webinar was held on Wednesday, 11 November, to present the key findings of this report and outline what this means for interested.

A recording of the first industry webinar is available for Nursery and Garden Industry members. To be send a link to the recording, please get in touch with Greener Spaces Better Places team at [email protected].

Access the full Greener Spaces Better Places industry summary: WWATTB Industry Summary

The ‘Where Will all the Trees Be?’ (NY19001) project has been funded by Hort Innovation using the vegetable, nursery, melon and potato research and development levies and contribution from the Australian Government.