Threats from climate change and increasing temperatures
Recent research from Dave Kendal (The City of Melbourne's Future Urban Forest) assessed the impact of climate change on the City of Melbourne’s existing tree population. Although this research is calibrated to the City of Melbourne’s local climate, it has proved useful in the planning and long-term management of the Hobsons Bay urban forest.
The research found that some of our more commonly planted species will become increasingly vulnerable to the changing climate. Eucalyptus leucoxylon (Yellow Gum) for example is one of our most planted tree species. The research by Kendall suggests that this species will unfortunately become increasingly more vulnerable to the rising mean annual temperature. Particularly within the built environment, where temperatures tend to be warmer due to the urban heat island effect.
The graph below is an extract from the study, which displays the lack of Eucalyptus leucoxylon existing in areas that have a mean annual temperature greater than 16 °C. This research suggests that as the mean annual temperature rises beyond what the species is naturally found in, that species will become less suited to the environment and may require additional resources to manage.
Excerpt from The City of Melbourne’s Future Urban Forest; Identifying vulnerability to future temperatures (Kendal, 2006)