The 53rd National Amenity Tree Conference opens with a focus on with the Tree Population Management and Canopy Cover, we’ll hear new methods of assessment, technologies and strategies all of which are Improving our ability to manage the crown and canopy sustainably.
To read detailed biographies and abstracts for every speaker, click the link below.
Canopy Cover Targets in Urban Forest Governance
Monday’s sessions will be delivered by a broad range of experts beginning with Professor Cecil Konijnendijk from the University of British Columbia (Vancouver, Canada). Professor Konijnendijk is project leader of the UFORIA (Urban Forestry Research In Action) lab at the University and is passionate about teaching, research and public speaking focusing on the role of trees and nature in cities.
Professor Konijnendijk will present a critical look at the use of canopy cover targets by governments, previewing his session he said:
“Canopy targets are clear and measurable, and thus are often popular with politicians. On the negative side, however, urban forest canopy information is less useful for some urban forest benefits… it can lead to overly focusing on aspects of quantity, where the quality of the urban forest in terms of its functionality and resilience is at least as important.
“This presentation looks at the current state of the use of canopy targets in urban forest governance and management in cities across the globe. It takes a critical look at how canopy targets inform better urban forestry and provides suggestions for a more balanced use of these targets in governance, planning and management.”
Innovative Technologies for Sustainable Crown & Canopy Management
Following Cecil Konijnenijk’s opening presentation, Dr Paul Barber completes a formidable duo to open Conference proceedings. In this session, he’ll delve into some of the platform and sensor technologies which have made a great Impact In achieving sustainable canopy management.
Paul was first Inspired to work with trees through his fascination with fungi.
“Forest pathology was the area that really switched me on; looking at fungi down the microscope, micro-fungi on leaves, diseases on leaves of eucalypts and all these amazing structures.”
Many of the projects Paul has been involved in focus on using remote sensing for early decay detection in large urban trees with hyper spectral cameras. Other projects have used heat mapping sensors over cities to Identify hotspots and show differences in surface heat, which Is changing the way we plan and develop cities.
“These technologies cannot replace arborists and urban foresters, but they are very important tools that greatly assist us in managing crowns and canopies in the urban forest in a more sustainable manner.”
Tree Strategies – Making Trees Count
Continuing the mornings theme of sustainable urban tree management, Bryan Cosgrove from Manchester – City of Trees movement will explain how they are using a wide range of data to achieve their target of planting 3 million trees around Greater Manchester over the next 25 years.
At the centre of these plans has been the preparation of a tree and woodland strategy for Greater Manchester (GM) which has enabled them to take a more strategic view of what is needed and where, to achieve a more sustainable and vibrant region in terms of climate change resilience, health, economy and biodiversity.
“Between May and November 2018, data on species, mass, and condition was collected from more than 6,000 trees across Greater Manchester. City of Trees recruited and coordinated a team of 57 surveyors who visited almost 2,000 sample plots. This is thought to be the largest ever i-Tree survey carried out outside the US and is around three times the size of Greater London’s, in terms of number of plots surveyed.
“During this time, we also analysed a host of data relating to the types of environmental and social issues that we know trees can help us to tackle, in a way that produces a range of co-benefits. The result is a series of maps that highlight genuine opportunity to planting trees in a way that will generate the most benefits for everyone.”
Bryan’s presentation will cover the methods used and how the results are being used to help ensure GM becomes a greener, healthier, more resilient place to live and work.
Advanced Assessment of the Urban Tree Canopy
The penultimate session of the first morning of the Conference sees Robert Northrop present on some ground-breaking detailed assessment which are now part of the City of Tampa’s urban forest plan, and the tools they are using to support sustainable management.
Since 2004, the University of Florida IFAS and University of South Florida have investigated an array of tree canopy assessment methods and mitigation strategies in Tampa to support sustainable management.
Historic analysis of readily available thirty meter satellite images (30 meter) was undertaken to map tree canopy cover and identify trends during the past four decades. Black-and-white aerial photos are now being digitized to identify even longer trends (60 years).
Detailed canopy assessments are conducted every five years, in accordance with Tampa’s urban forest plan. For these assessments, tree cover distribution is estimated (92%) through classification of high-resolution imagery. An independent dot-based change analysis method using 4,000 randomly selected points is used to estimate total canopy change (95%). The maps and data produced by these three methods are used to assist with development and monitoring of urban tree policies.
The presentation will introduce the project, interim outcomes, and a detailed discussion of assessments and their uses in management urban tree canopy.
UK Urban Canopy Cover Change
Annabel Buckland is an Urban Forest Research Scientist within the Urban Forest Research Group (UFoRG) at Forest research. UFoRG delivers scientific knowledge on the UKs urban forests: ‘all the trees in and around the urban realm’. Annabel’s research focusses on urban canopy cover assessment techniques, as well as quantifying, mapping and valuing the role of UK urban forests to society.
Anecdotally, urban canopy cover is decreasing across the UK but there is little evidence to support this widely held belief. Indeed, one study conducted in late 2018 using a rapid quantification approach found no change in urban canopy cover across GB relative to five years previous.
Annabel will present an historical as well as an intra-city perspective to stimulate a reflection on urban canopy cover change, while also highlighting the valuable role of citizen scientists in providing meaningful data to complement urban forest management, demonstrate just how easy the data is to acquire and – therefore – stimulate greater involvement in mapping canopy cover for every urban ward in the UK.