In 1888, Sir Henry Parkes opened Centennial Park, bringing to fruition his vision of a green space for the people of Sydney and establishing an enduring asset for the community.
Over the subsequent 130 years, Centennial Parklands has grown to encompass almost 360 hectares of land in the heart of a growing cosmopolitan city, providing the community with room to move, fresh air and a space to play.
The Parklands has a planted population of approximately 15,000 trees, comprising 234 species, including natives and exotics.
The challenge of managing trees in the Parklands
The effects of drought, old age and urban impacts have taken their toll on many of these trees. Reports by independent arborists and the Centennial Park and Moore Park Trust (Trust) estimate that around 60% of these trees will need to be replaced over the next 40 years due to their terminal decline.
To combat the inevitable tree loss, we are aiming towards planting 3,000 trees over the next 10 years. In 2017, 141 trees were planted throughout the Parklands.
Similar numbers are aimed for each year to for our Annual Tree Planting program. Trees identified to be replaced will have reached the end of their Useful Life Expectancy (ULE), and there is nothing that the Parklands' Arborists can do to bring it back to its full bill of health or retain it safely.
The Parklands takes a planned approach to managing its trees. It has developed a strong Tree Asset Management System complemented by a comprehensive Tree Replacement Program, based on its Tree Master Plan (Plan), amongst many other considerations to maintain and add to our diverse tree collection.
The Plan sets out strategies for conserving the existing tree population and provides a framework for sensitively integrating new plantings into the Parklands' historic fabric.
The Plan has identified that up to 200 new trees need to be planted each year over the next 10-20 years to maintain the tree populations in the Parklands. In the next 40 years, a large percentage of our tree population, especially those that are already mature or over-mature will need to be replaced due to their terminal decline.
Gradual and priority based removal of the affected trees occurs year-round and is constantly reassessed as our dynamic site changes – with those identified as being in the worst condition (and/or hazardous to park visitors) being removed first.
Refer to our blog, ‘The circle of (a tree) life to find out more about trees and the way we manage them at Centennial Parklands.