Keeping Adelaide's trees streets ahead

Friday, 3 June 2005

Adelaide's unique street tree environment is a haven for our birdlife - but more needs to be done, according to a University of Adelaide researcher.

Ms Karen Young studied hundreds of street trees throughout Adelaide for her Honours project in the University of Adelaide's School of Environmental and Earth Sciences to find out what type of birds used them and what factors influenced this use.

Her findings suggest that all of us have a part to play in ensuring Adelaide remains a bird-friendly environment - and it's just not a matter of simply planting more trees.

"There's a wide range of factors that affect how birds use trees: what type of tree, where it is, and what season," Karen says. "But an interesting finding from my study was that the surrounding environment in which the street trees stand has a big impact on how the tree species and season influence the birds.

"Essentially, what that means is how well-vegetated the front gardens are along the street. A single tree surrounded by concrete is less likely to attract great numbers of birds if the little bit of food or shelter that tree provides are the only things in the area, no matter how good that tree species may be elsewhere.

"But if you have gardens with a variety of vegetation, like some lawn, shrubs, and ground covers, then birds are more likely to be in the area."

Karen says local councils also have a significant role in maintaining Adelaide's street tree environment, and must take some of the responsibility for its preservation and suitability for our birdlife.

"Councils do have a big part to play in what street trees go in where, and they have a lot of things to consider: how long the trees are going to last, how much will they cost to maintain, how much shade they will provide, and how much they will cost to replace.

"But I hope my study will show that with just a little bit more thought about what trees are effective and where and when they are effective, councils can use them more appropriately.

"Part of it is also up to us, to make sure we provide the appropriate surrounding vegetation to create an environment where birds are encouraged to use our street trees as much as possible."


Contact Details

Ms Karen Young
School of Environmental and Earth Sciences
University of Adelaide
Business: +61 8 8313 6128
Mobile: 0402 782 473

Media Team
The University of Adelaide
Business: +61 8 8313 0814

Mr David Ellis
Deputy Director, Media and Corporate Relations
External Relations
The University of Adelaide
Business: +61 8 8313 5414
Mobile: +61 (0)421 612 762