Friday, February 11th, 2011
With an estimated damage bill set to exceed $500 million and massive power outages leaving thousands of people without power after cyclone Yasi, Greening Australia is pointing to trees as a big contributor to the damage bill and power outages.

“I’d be surprised if anything less than 100% of power outages were caused by vegetation” said Dr Greg Calvert, a senior Scientist at Greening Australia “In Townsville alone 60% of this damage is due to only five tree species.”

Greening Australia has been commissioned to compile a report on this issue which will see Dr Greg Calvert profile tree responses along a cyclone gradient of 1-5.

“In a category 1-3, almost all damage is caused by falling trees” states Dr Calvert “In a category 4-5 cyclone there is a lot more flying debris. Having trees around your house catches much of this flying debris and helps reduce damage to property but the trick is to have the right trees in the right position.”

As people start to clean up and replant, Greening Australia is calling for people to be more careful about the kinds of vegetation they plant around their homes especially under and around power lines. People are being urged to make use of the Ergon Energy Plant Smart program which can help people choose the right plants to help protect rather than damage in these kinds of events.

“The maximum height for trees under and around power lines is four metres” said David Wood Manager Vegetation & Sustainable Pole Forests from Ergon Energy “If people are unsure about what to plant they could visit our ‘Plant Smart’ website which provides advice and lists of suitable species or they can find a list of participating Plant Smart nurseries who will be able to provide good advice.”

Plant Smart, an eight year partnership with Ergon Energy and Greening Australia, provides advice and solutions for this growing problem. Plant Smart aims to reduce the risk to lives during these events by preventing damage to power lines and property.

“We live in a cyclone prone region and with weather extremes becoming more frequent we need to make sure we help prepare better to protect ourselves and our properties.”

Contact Profile

Greening Australia

Greening Australia is the largest not-for-profit apolitical environmental organisation in Australia, with a network of 350 staff working locations around the country. Greening Australia works in the environmental on issues including salinity, declining water quality, soil degradation, climate change and biodiversity.
Lainie Grigg
P: 07 3902 4411


environment, cyclone yasi, north queensland, electricity



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