by Pip Howard
If a mature tree is flattened out the surface area of this tree could cover several hectares.
Its roots, end to end, would cover 1000’s of miles.
The fungi system attached to this tree, end to end, could reach to the Moon and back.
It is not just a part of our landscape. It is bigger than many of our landscapes.
One mature tree in a city is a full landscape in itself.
This is why people have an attachment with their trees, this is why they often protest when a tree is removed. A fact recognised since 1967, by way of Helliwell’s ‘Amenity Value of a Tree’ still very much in use, updated regularly and a powerful tool for arboricultural surveyors.
This was not ‘ahead of its time’ it is policy making that has regressed and allowed the disenfranchisement of the highly professional and globally recognised British Arboricultural sector.
A chainsaw in the right hands is not just safe; it can save lives. The reasons to fell a tree are as often justifiable as when not. If this giant in a landscape falls unplanned it can and sometimes does do a lot of damage, including death.
Non Woodland Trees (NWT) are not marked on maps, has this helped to dismiss the tree in vertical, literally top down, office restrained decision making? It seems so.
Public engagement and consultation with regards trees is a post code lottery. Spurious comments about a trees worth are far too frequently used in answer to protest – have policy makers both in central and local government really not realised that ‘planting another tree in place’ of those unmindfully lost, is not good enough? Clearly not or we wouldn’t see ‘Biodiversity Offsetting‘ offered.
We face an unprecedented decline in our non woodland trees and our urban and peri-urban trees will be missed most as these are the trees most of us see.
The way forward is celebrating these trees and getting to know them better and to do this we need to get to know those who manage and work with these trees, an industry that is as threatened as the trees themselves.
Meet your arborist or your tree officer at the Arb Show, open to all, on Friday 14th and Saturday 15th at the Bathurst Estate near Cirencester.
And on Sunday 23rd, Arborists from Epping Forest will gather outside Buckhurst Hill tube station to answer your questions about trees.