Arboriculture and climate change
The 'Trees in Towns II' survey published by DCLG in 2008 identified that most of our urban trees are young, early mature or semi-mature and will therefore need to face significantly different climatic conditions predicted for future years. This will obviously also apply to trees we plant today, or tomorrow. If we wish to see a continued strong tree component as part of urban green infrastructure, and if we want to advocate urban trees as a useful contribution to capturing carbon and helping to reduce global warming, then we must understand what the likely impacts of climate change will be. And what options are available to adapt the urban treescape in order that it becomes resilient to these changes. There is much uncertainty to the magnitude of predicted climate changes and the precise timing of when they will occur. However, there is absolute certainty that they will. We will need to be ready.
There has been much research on the subject of tree and woodland adaptation and how these can contribute to climate change reduction. And considerable progress has been made in climate change prediction, understanding the probable impacts on trees in both urban and peri-urban environments, and working through the likely changes to policy and operational practice that will be needed. Much has been published on the subject (e.g. nearly seven million Google 'hits' for ‘climate change and urban trees'!), a lot confusing or contradictory.
The Arboricultural Association has recognised the importance of climate change to the industry - indeed, at its 2014 National Amenity Conference in September, it devoted one of six themes to the subject.
The workshop is designed to be suitable for any arboricultural professional, including Local Authority Tree officers, Arboricultural Consultants and Contractors and Landscape Architects. It may also be useful to professionals of other disciplines such as loss adjusters and engineers to gain a modern understanding of the likely impact of climate change, focussed on the urban tree environment.