Guest post by Anna Foley, National Trust of Australia (Victoria)
The National Trust of Australia (Victoria) has maintained a Register of Significant Trees since 1982, and has now classified over 20,000 trees across the state, which have been mapped for the first time at www.trusttrees.org.au.
Trees can be significant for a number of reasons, including: age, size, attractive flowers or foliage, contribution to the local landscape, plantings in a historic garden, associations with Aboriginal activities or commemorative connections.
Any tree simply needs to meet the benchmark for one of these criteria to be classified; however, only the best examples in the region are included on the register.
Although there are lots of significant trees in Melbourne’s west, they have never been thoroughly surveyed, so in many municipalities significant trees are not yet well-protected. You can nominate your favourite trees in the west to the register using the online form at www.trusttrees.org.au/nominate
All you need are some photos, measurements of the tree, and any information about the tree’s history. The online form can be saved and bookmarked, so you can gradually complete the information as you gather it.
Run by a community organisation, the National Trust’s Register of Significant Trees doesn’t carry any legal obligations, but the National Trust does actively advocate for statutory overlays to protect the trees on our register under the relevant local Planning Scheme, and the Trust can sometimes become involved if the tree is under threat of demolition.
The National Trust is also open to partnerships with like-minded organisations as a means of strengthening advocacy and celebration of significant trees. Please contact the National Trust if you are interested in becoming involved in the protection and celebration of significant trees in your area.