Council has established a Baw Baw Significant Tree Register to identify valuable and important trees within the Baw Baw Shire. The Register provides clear and consistent criteria for community groups to identify and nominate trees on public land in townships that are deemed ‘significant’. The criteria include environmental, historical, cultural, aesthetic and scientific values.
The Committee for Drouin’s Assets Sub-Committee (Friends of Drouin Trees) completed their assessment of significant trees on public land within the Drouin township in 2018, with the nomination of 258 tree assets to be placed on the Significant Tree Register. These trees were recently approved by Council for inclusion on the Register in January 2019 following community consultation. To find out more about significant trees within the Drouin township, please visit Council’s on-line interactive map to view the location and citation for each significant tree.
Council has adopted specific criteria to identify and assess significant trees. These include criteria utilised by the National Trust of Australia - Criteria for identification and classification of significant trees, as well as two additional criteria used by most other Councils. A tree can be identified as significant based on one or more of the following criteria:
- Horticultural value
- Location or landscape context
- Rare or localised
- Particularly old
- Outstanding size
- Aesthetic value
- Curious growth form
- Historic value
- Aboriginal culture
- Outstanding example of a species
- Remnant vegetation
- Outstanding habitat value
Please refer to attachments ‘Significant Tree Evaluation Criteria’ and ‘Significant Tree Types & Values’ for further information.
The Baw Baw Significant Tree Register provides an opportunity to promote, value and acknowledge significant trees in Baw Baw Shire. Council would also like to increase community awareness about the environmental and ecological benefits of trees, including the positive contribution they have to our local biodiversity and wildlife, as well as the overall benefits to community health and wellbeing.
The Register provides opportunity for community groups to become actively involved in identifying significant trees within Baw Baw Shire townships thereby improving community participation and citizenship within our community in relation to our environment. The Register will also promote and provide opportunity for learning about some of the Shire’s cultural history.
All trees on public land, or land management by Council, are currently offered protection through the Baw Baw Local Law whilst native vegetation or vegetation covered by a Heritage Overlay, Vegetation Protection Overlay or Significant Landscapes Overlay may require additional planning approval to remove, destroy or lop under the Planning Scheme.
Council has also adopted the use of the Australian Standard for the Protection of trees on development sites (AS 4970-2009) when identifying and assessing the potential impact of proposed works on a tree. This means that any proposed buildings and works within the protection zone of a tree (Tree Protection Zone), or direct impact on a tree through removal, pruning or lopping, may require a permit. Referrals to arborists and or horticulturalists may be required to assess proposals that may impact the health or values of significant trees.
Council’s current nomination process is for an established or new community group to identify and collate a list of significant trees from their township that could be placed on the Significant Tree Register. At this stage, only trees located on public land, or land managed by Council, will be considered for listing.
Council is happy to assist any guide existing or new community groups to undertake the work of identifying a township’s significant trees. The Friends of Drouin Trees community group has also offered their provision of their advice to community groups wishing to get involved.
Significant trees that are located on private land are currently not included in the Significant Tree Register, although this may be considered by Council in future years.
Council has developed an online mapping tool that displays the location of significant trees. It allows you to enter a property address, or on a mobile device, navigate to your location via the GPS icon . You can then select nearby significant tree symbols to display information about them as well as click on a link to a more detailed citation for that tree or group of trees.
Council encourages any community groups who are interested in identifying significant trees within their townships on public land for inclusion on the Register to contact the Environmental Sustainability Team on 5624 2411.