About 17% of metropolitan Adelaide is covered in tree canopy, according to data released by urban environmental organisation Green Adelaide today.

Tree canopy cover across Adelaide

The study, led by Green Adelaide, is the first time that state and local government have partnered to capture tree canopy data for the entire metropolitan Adelaide area in a single study to provide a regionally consistent dataset and a full picture of tree canopy levels.

Green Adelaide Presiding Member Professor Chris Daniels said that this new data gives an indication of the current state of Adelaide’s urban forest and will help prioritise practical urban greening action.

“Adelaide is still a long way off of achieving 30% tree canopy cover, which is the widely accepted target for urban areas,” Professor Daniels said.

The data was captured via LiDAR technology, and shows an increase in tree canopy of nearly 4% compared to a similar survey in 2018 and 2019.

“The data shows that, compared to 2018 and 2019, our existing mature trees have gotten bigger and the trees planted over the past few years have now grown to 3 metres or more in height, meaning they are considered especially ‘valuable’ tree canopy,” he said.

“They are considered valuable at this height because this is when they begin to provide shading and cooling benefits to the surrounding area.”

Professor Daniels said that while tree growth was seen along local streets and in parks around metropolitan Adelaide, the data also shows tree removals in residential areas where there is a high demand for land for housing, and along some major arterial roads that have undergone infrastructure upgrades.

“It is certainly interesting to see how this data compares to similar data captured in 2018-19, but until we survey across metropolitan Adelaide again in 1-2 years’ time it is too soon to determine whether it signifies an upward trend,” he said.

“This has been a fantastic collaboration with all of Adelaide’s metropolitan councils, and it gives us a single point of truth to guide our greening initiatives, particularly the state’s first ever Urban Greening Strategy, which is soon to be released for public consultation.”

The 2022 tree canopy data capture is a partnership between Green Adelaide, other state government agencies and 18 councils across Adelaide to map tree canopy, green cover, built environment and urban heat islands.

Fast facts

  • 17% of metropolitan Adelaide is covered in tree canopy.
  • Minor 4% increase in tree canopy across metropolitan Adelaide compared to a similar data capture in 2018-19.
  • Impermeable surfaces, like roads, buildings and other hard surfaces, cover 29% of metropolitan Adelaide.
  • Permeable surfaces, like bare earth, grassed areas and vegetation make up 67% (about 3.5% of the study area was water).

Find out more on our Urban Heat and Tree Canopy project page.

Like what you’ve read? Browse our other nature stories, subscribe to our monthly newsletter below and/or follow us on Facebook and Instagram.