UWA researchers are looking at heat-damaged trees around Perth and need your help

UWA tree study climate change
Home >News >UWA researchers are looking at heat-damaged trees around Perth and need your help

While this on-going warm May weather has been pleasant enough, we can’t help but feel there’s something sinister lurking in the background with regards to just how long its been going on for.

Last week the Bureau of Meteorology confirmed that this May has been unusually warm and dry, with Perth breaking its record for the number of consecutive days over 25°C, with 13 days recorded (besting 1962’s previous record of 11).

It also noted that Busselton has recorded 140 consecutive days with a max temperature over 20°C, beating 2012’s previous record of 122 days until May 5.

All of this is to say that you won’t be surprised to know this weather appears to be having a not-great impact on the local vegetation, which is the subject for researchers at the University of Western Australia right now.

UWA’s Centre for Water and Spatial Science (CWSS) is measuring the impact of the current conditions on Perth’s trees to learn about their vulnerability, resilience and what can help our trees survive the tough conditions of changing climate.

And they’re calling on the people of Perth to assist in data collection: “Vegetation in Western Australia is suffering, with mass plant death that some have likened to coral bleaching events,” said project leader, Associate Professor Sally Thompson.

“We’re inviting residents in the Perth metro area to visit their local bushland, park or streets to record both the healthy and less healthy trees they see via an online web-based app

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“Establishing the approximate percentage of tree canopy that is healthy, bare or has dead leaves, as well as the tree’s location, will help us identify tree health to use with other spatial data to form a picture of what is happening.”

Participation is voluntary, and you can choose if you’d like to stay updated on the study’s results as they come to light.

“Future work is being planned which will include in-depth field studies to measure specific tree and canopy health metrics,” said Thompson.

To participate visit the app, for more information or to suggest a suitable in-depth study site, contact project leader Associate Professor Sally Thompson at CWSS – details here.

Image Credit: Perth is OK!/Troy Mutton