Trees, Science and Opinion

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 […]
16th January 2016

Ackee: The Toxic Tree That Tastes Delicious.

The Ackee tree, Blighia sapida, is a tree of contradictions. In Jamaica, the Ackee tree is revered – more popular than Bob Marley. The Ackee fruit is the National Fruit of Jamaica, and forms the key ingredient in the National Dish of Jamaica, Ackee and Saltfish. However, the tree is also deadly. The fruits are highly poisonous, even having a specific illness named after them (symptoms include severe vomiting, coma and death). The Ackee tree is so toxic it is […]
20th November 2015
The Emotional Life of the Arboriculture Consultant

The Lime Trees of Rivelin

  Sheffield is famous for its trees. One of the jewels in Sheffield’s arboreal crown is the avenue of limes along Rivelin Valley Road. At three and a half miles long, it forms the second longest lime avenue in the country. This spectacular natural monument is rooted in Sheffield’s history, but there are now concerns that it is under threat.   Unlike most historic tree avenues, formed as a result of vanity projects of the aristocracy or wealthy landowners, what […]
15th June 2015

The Sheffield Chainsaw Massacre?

A recent campaign has been in progress regarding the proposed felling of 12 Lime trees along Sheffield’s Rustlings Road. I spoke with a local journalist about this subject and the story was covered in the Sheffield Star and Sheffield Telegraph as well as other regional papers and media. I tried to be reasonably balanced in what was said and think the newspaper article generally reflects this (at the very least, it was good to see the title ‘Chartered Arboriculturist‘  in […]
10th February 2015

Nemophilist: One who is fond of the forest; a haunter of the woods.

Nemophilist (pronounced  ne-‘mo-fe-list),  is an obscure word that hasn’t really been used for over 100 years. It means someone with a love or fondness for forests, woods, or woodland scenery, or someone who often visits them – a ‘haunter’ of woods. The word derives from the Greek ‘nemos,’ grove, and ‘philos,’ affection. The use of the word appears to distinguish it from the more formal pursuit of ‘forestry’, ‘arboriculture’ or ‘botany’ – suggesting a more artistic appreciation of trees, or the simple […]
30th January 2015

I like trees, but…

Urban trees have many objective benefits to people, the economy and the environment; with much research and policy supporting this.  However, it’s less clear if the public’s perception corresponds with such research and policy. Increasingly, arboriculturists involved in public liaison have questioned whether the public are aware of, or agree, that urban trees provide such benefits. Yet without public support, there is little hope of sustainable urban tree cover.    When assessing public perspectives towards urban trees, a wide spectrum […]
1st December 2014

The World’s First Tree Preservation Order

  At the turn of the 20th century, in the face of overcrowded slums and uncontrolled urban growth, the UK Government implemented some of the first ever campaigns to tackle the problem of poor urban environments. This political commitment ultimately led to the creation of the 1947 Town & Country Planning Act, which brought most development under the control of councils, through a system of development plans. This Act also protected certain trees, by means of Tree Preservation Orders (TPOs), with private tree owners […]
24th October 2014

Do Trees Have Feelings?

Some people relate to trees almost as inanimate objects – green things that stand in the way. However, modern research has undermined this view and is showing trees as having ever greater levels of sophistication than previously imagined.    In their own way, plants can see, hear, smell, feel and it is possible they even have a memory. Trees can communicate with each other too; using mycorrhizal fungi, their roots exchange information and even goods to other trees in need. Obviously trees don’t have brains, but some believe that trees may have something […]
18th May 2014

Asleep with our Arboreal Ancestors

Now I’m the king of the swingers Oh, the jungle VIP I’ve reached the top and had to stop And that’s what botherin’ me Despite our predominantly urban existence we still feel great connectedness and strong emotional bonds towards trees. It has been suggested that this positive emotional response is, in part, hard-wired. Millions of years of evolution have left us with a partly genetic predisposition to respond positively to trees. Interestingly, this connection to our arboreal origins can still […]
17th January 2014

The Tyranny of Tree Preservation

Tree preservation orders are legal orders which make it an offence to cut down, uproot, prune, lop or damage a tree without first obtaining Council consent. Tree preservation orders are powerful legal tools that can have a massive impact on both trees, the land on which they grow and the people who own this land.   Tree preservation orders can be a tool for great good, ensuring high value amenity trees are protected from threats of destruction, for the benefit […]