Trees, Science and Opinion

6th March 2018
Arboriculturists around the Major Oak

Thinking Arbs Day with the Arboricultural Association

The Arboricultural Association is the leading voice on all tree matters in the UK, they provide a home and membership for all professionals within the arboricultural sector – from qualified and experienced arboricultural consultants to those starting out in the industry – they champion the sustainable management of trees in places where people live work and play – for the benefit of Society. All the tree surveyors and arboriculturists at AWA Tree Consultants are members of the Arboricultural Association, either […]
18th October 2017

Sheffield’s Heritage Trees vs Private Finance Initiative

Forest Research, the research agency of the Forestry Commission, publishes tree pest and disease alerts and advisory notes in the form of bulletins and handbills, showing signs and symptoms of tree pests and diseases and advice on what to do if you suspect the pest or disease is present. This bulletin is a lighthearted parody of their pest and disease alerts, it’s intended to make us think how we would react if Private Finance Initiatives, or PFI,  were a destructive […]
9th October 2017

How do trees change colour in autumn? 

  “Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.”  ― Albert Camus  Trees display a vast array of impressive colours throughout autumn. These various hues of yellows, oranges, pinks, reds and browns are what provide most of us the first real indication that the seasons are changing. They provide us with a final colourful spectacle before winter sets in – the year’s last, loveliest smile.  The changing leaves on the trees are the main association most of […]
16th February 2017

Komorebi (木漏れ日): Sunshine filtering through the trees.

There is a Japanese term “Komorebi”, for which no simple English translation exists. Yet it is a distinct phenomenon, that anyone who spends time among trees will have enjoyed. Komorebi  roughly translates as “the scattered light that filters through when sunlight shines through trees”. It is made up of three “Kanji” or Chinese characters: “tree” or “trees”, “leaking-through” or “escape”, and “light” or “sun”. Komorebi is especially noticeable when the sun is low, and mist or smoke can add to the […]
17th December 2016

How can Sheffield heal divisions over the tree-felling controversy?

The Sheffield Telegraph runs a debate feature every week called Telegraph Voices. A journalist contacted me last week, to take part in a debate entitled: ‘How can Sheffield heal divisions over the tree-felling controversy?’ As ever, it’s tricky to cover such an emotive and complex issue – and to suggest pragmatic solutions – in just 300 words. “There is little room for sentimentality when managing urban trees. Eventually every street tree will decline and need to be replaced. Some protesters […]
30th November 2016

Are Sheffield war memorial trees being felled to save on maintenance costs?

      Picture the scenario…   Due to Council budget cuts, The Cenotaph (the national War Memorial in central London) has not had the maintenance it deserves and is in need of some TLC, so the Council outsource War Memorial management to a Spanish infrastructure services company, who are contracted to maintain it for the next 25 years. The company then have a marvelous idea: To save on annual maintenance costs, they knock it down and tarmac the area over – thereby […]
17th November 2016

Welcoming the Introduction of Operation Arborcide!

We have all seen how trees can strike at any time and any place without warning. The threat from trees is real and serious. So it is good to see South Yorkshire Police being deadly serious about protecting the people of Sheffield from the arboreal menace. In the early hours of today, a dozen police officers demonstrated a range of tactics to protect the public, including arresting elderly residents who ‘peacefully’ protested the essential work to keep us safe from these […]
6th November 2016

Shinrin-yoku: Is Forest Bathing Science or Art?

A new phrase recently entered the lexicon of forestry and trees – Shinrin-yoku. It’s a Japanese term that roughly translates in English as “Forest Bathing”, or visiting a forest for relaxation and recreation. I first heard it around five years ago, at a forestry conference, and judging by the number of raised eyebrows, this was the first time many other tree professionals in the room had heard the term too. While Shinrin-yoku may sound ancient and conjure up romantic images […]
19th February 2016

Neuro-Arboriculture: Your Brain On Trees.

Most tree problems are fairly straightforward to solve: the rooting environment can be improved, branches can be pruned or braced, and trees can be felled and replaced. It becomes much less straightforward when you add people. Deep-seated, even hard-wired emotions define people’s interactions with trees. However, the neurological basis of people’s connection to trees remains a mystery.    Research on the economic and environmental benefits of urban trees has amassed. It shows how urban trees reduce pollution, mitigate extreme weather events, reduce […]
27th January 2016

Sheffield Tree Felling:

  The cherry blossoms that stirred me, shade me no more Issa In Spring 2012 I wrote Sheffield Hanami, about the cherry trees outside my house in Sheffield. In late Summer 2013 I came home one evening to find a “notice to fell” pinned on the tree outside my house. It stated the tree had “outgrown it’s location” and was causing a “footpath obstruction”. Despite my best attempts to argue/pull-strings/beg, with anyone who would listen, the photos show what happened […]