Bristol Tree Forum blog

The importance of urban forests: why money really does grow on trees

A must-read article in today’s Guardian.

This month will see representatives from the world’s cities convene in Quito, Ecuador, for the United Nations conference on sustainable urban development,Habitat III. An agreement called the New Urban Agenda will be launched, to address the challenges facing a growing global urban population that already accounts for over 50% of us.

man-resting-against-pine

Here are some of the article’s headline points:

  • Green spaces are essential for mental and physical health, community building and performing urgent ecological tasks.
  • The ecological services that trees provide are staggering.
  • Trees can cool cities by between 2C and 8C. When planted near buildings, trees can cut air conditioning use by 30%, and, according to the UN Urban Forestry office, reduce heating energy use by a further 20-50%.
  • It’s hard to put a price on how an avenue of plane trees can muffle the roar of a main road, although trees do on average increase the value of property by 20%.
  • When the New York City park department measured the economic impact of its trees, the benefits added up to $120m a year. (Compare that to the $22m annual parks department expenditure.) There were $28m worth of energy savings, $5m worth of air quality improvements and $36m of costs avoided in mitigating storm water flooding. If you look at a big tree, says Jones, “it’s intercepting 1,432 gallons of water in the course of a year.”
  • Trees can bring down cortisol levels in walkers, which means less stress.
  • It is suggested that, in areas with more trees, people get out more, they know their neighbours more, they have less anxiety and depression.
  • Research suggests people are less violent when they live near trees.
  • A tree psychology study was done in Toronto by psychology professor Marc Berman, using data sets from the national health system. He discovered that, if you have 10 more trees on a city block, it improves health perception as much as having £10,000 more in income, or feeling seven years younger. There are even some studies on urban trees which showed that they reduce health inequality.
  • The value we place on trees and nature is informed by childhood experience. A Child growing up dislocated from nature will suffer, say some researchers, an “extinction of experience”. Sadly, these children will ultimately understand and value nature less.

You can link to the full article here.

 

Redland Hill mature Copper Beech to be felled

An application has been made to remove a mature Purple Beech  at The Praedium Chapter Walk Bristol BS6 6WB.

copper-beech-the-praedium

The application was based on the following report by Tim Pursey, Chartered Arboriculturist:

A recent routine tree survey highlighted possible decay within the stem of the tree. Drilling tests this week with a Resistograph have revealed that the extent of decay within the stem is considerable. I would now classify the tree as being dangerous and have recommended its immediate removal.

This is the Council’s decision, made today:

A member of staff from the Arboricultural Section has visited the site and agreed that the proposal for tree works can be carried out under the Dead and Dangerous exemption of the Town & Country Planning Act 1990. Therefore, in this instance, formal consent from the Local Planning Authority is not required.
However, when a tree is removed under this legislation, there is a duty on the owner of the land, under Sections 206 and 211 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, to plant another tree, of an appropriate size and species, at the same place as the tree to be felled, as soon as it is reasonably possible. The new tree will have the same legal protection as the tree it replaced.
In some circumstances, it may not be appropriate to replace the tree and therefore the Local Planning Authority has the power to dispense with this duty.
In this instance, a replacement tree is required (Common Beech) and I would be grateful if you could contact the above named officer when the replacement has been planted, in order that a site inspection can be made.

It is not clear why the replacement tree is a Common Beech and not a specimen of the original Purple Beech or what steps must be taken to ensure that a suitable specimen is selected or when it is to be planted.

Tree of the week

Katsura, Cercidilphyllum japonicum

To be found at the National Trust property at Newark Park – Park Lane, Ozleworth, Wotton-under-Edge GL12 7PZ.

Originating from China and introduced into the UK in 1881. In Asia it is one of the largest deciduous trees, growing to 10 – 45 metres tall. It is a very primitive hardwood species, closely related to the Magnolias and is unusual in having some features of a conifer or softwood . Each tree is a separate male or female one. The family is a very primitive one and may even predate the Ginkgo.

A more local specimen can be found in St Andrews Park, Bristol BS6.

In autumn, when the leaves change colour to a beautiful pale yellow, pinks and reds, they give off a smell of burnt sugar or caramel. Generally, they are smelled before they are seen during this short two-week period.

This delightful, young specimen has started to turn and has indeed a smell of burnt caramel when the dry leaves are crushed. It is planted on the middle terraces below the house.katsura-tree-cercidilphyllum-japonicum

Also worth visiting are the the magnificent 200+ year old (planted in around 1810) Horse chestnuts which can be found along the old carriage drive leading up to the house, some of the largest specimens that I have ever seen.

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A reminder – what Bristol’s new mayor said about our trees

A reminder – what bristol’s new mayor said about our trees

bristol-csb

Following a public meeting of 21st March 2016, the Chair of the BTF formulated some questions which we sent to some of the then Mayoral Candidates.

  1. Do you support the need for increased tree cover in a city for reasons of climate change mitigation, public health, education and well-being?
  2. If so how will you support initiatives to increase private and grant funding, facilitate planting and the protection of trees and ensure there is adequate resource in the council to do this?
  3. How will you ensure that the council works with the Tree Forum and uses it as a conduit for formatting, consulting and communicating tree policy and for liaising with other community organisations?
  4. How will you develop an external funding model to bring in business, private and other monies for tree planting in Bristol?
  5. How will you work with Highways Department to ensure all opportunities are taken to plant trees in pavement buildouts, street pavements, central reservations and other locations and ensure trees are seen as an integral part of the street scene?
  6. How would you support a city wide plan to replace tree stumps by 2020?
  7. How would you see that trees are treated as capital assets for accounting purposes?
  8. How would you ensue the protection of the trees in Castle Park (St Mary le Port) from development, which threatens to lead to tree felling?
  9. How will you ensure that the planning department adopts a robust approach to tree protection and mitigation in all construction in Bristol, including construction for affordable homes and student accommodation?

This is the answer from our new mayor, Marvin Rees:

Dear Clive,

Thank you for getting in touch to raise a number of issues regarding the trees in our city. It’s great to hear from people all over Bristol.

I share the goals of the Bristol Tree Forum, and agree that increased tree cover in the city can play an important role in helping with climate change mitigation, as well as enhancing public health and general well-being. It is with this in mind that I am committed to protecting our environment, and the trees around our city.

You have raised a number of specific issues, some of which would involve spending commitments. At this time I am unable to commit to any specific spending, It is impossible to make specific spending commitments until we have opened the books and seen what financial situation we are left with. However, I can guarantee that we will be in touch after the election, at which time we will be able to discuss these matters in much more detail. I will continue to consult with and work with groups such as the Bristol Tree Forum to ensure that we are making policy in a way that is environmentally sustainable. We will in any case continue to protect trees across the city through our planning and conservation policies.

I will continue to bear in mind the specific points that you have raised during and after the election, and I look forward to working with you, and with other similar organisations, to ensure that we protect our trees and our environment.

If you would like me to address any of the specific points you have raised in more detail, please feel free to get in touch and I will do the best I can to answer your questions.

Yours sincerely,

Marvin Rees

A grotto made from 10,000 tree samples comes to Bristol

A grotto made from 10,000 tree samples comes to Bristol

Freelance photography services

The captivating new piece of public artwork, made from 10,000 tree samples gathered from across the world and unveiled by the University of Bristol last May, is definitely worth a visit.

The intricate structure, called Hollow, is located in Royal Fort Gardens and represents the planet’s history and evolution through time. It was commissioned to mark the opening of the University’s £56.5million Life Sciences building and is produced by Bristol-based public art producers, Situations.

Described as a ‘modernist grotto’, it’s big enough to fit two people and promises to be an immersive experience as light falls through apertures in the ceiling, mimicking the way sunlight falls through trees in a forest. It took Katie Paterson three years to amass the samples, many of which have been donated by private collectors, arboretums and botanic gardens across the world.

Freelance photography services

Among the 10,000 pieces of wood is a fossil from an ancient forest which grew 390 million years ago where New York City now stands. Wood from more recent historic events also forms part of the structure, including part of the iconic Atlantic City boardwalk devastated by hurricane Sandy in 2012 and a sample from the Japanese Ginkgo tree in Hiroshima, a tree that witnessed and survived one of the darkest moments of human history.

Hollow will be open to the public during daylight hours all year round.

To Learn more, visit the Bristol University website and BBC Four documentary ‘What Do Artists Do All Day?‘.

 

London’s Air Conditioning

Treeco2nomics New Report Highlights the Benefits London’s Trees Bring to Air Quality

A new report, co-authored by Treeco2nomics, has identified that the tree population of inner and outer London holds nearly 2.4 million tonnes of carbon and is consuming an additional 77,000 tonnes per annum. This is equivalent to the total amount of carbon generated by 26 billion vehicle miles, significantly assisting air quality in the capital. In total, when counting all pollutants, the total value is £126 Million per annum.

The report is a partnership project also including Forest Research, Greater London Authority, Greenspace Information for Greater London, London Tree Officers Association, Natural England, Trees for Cities and The Tree Council. The project was kindly supported by Unilever. The report covered the whole of the Greater London area. Indeed, the London i-Tree project is the largest survey undertaken to date worldwide using the i-Tree software.

Understanding and quantifying the value structure of London’s urban trees helps calculate the many benefits urban tree cover bring to the local population. The London i-Tree report serves as an example and encouragement to others, particularly because it has demonstrated public involvement and hopefully commitment to change based on the results.

The survey provides the basis and a benchmark from which to move forward with structured planning for London’s urban forest.

You can read the full article on the Treeco2nomics website and download a copy of the report.