Tree Heritage attend Arboricultural Association Conference 2017
Last week we attended the Arboricultural Association’s 1st International Conference focusing on Biosecurity.
An industry conference is always an opportunity to meet up with your peers, discuss latest methods, research and ideas but most importantly, you get to hear the big issues being spoken about by the experts!
The main theme was Biosecurity and it came at us in many forms, from many directions:
On the first morning, we heard about the arboricultural challenges – we heard from Professor Mike Raupp about his experiences dealing with pests & diseases in the US, Dr David Lonsdale, Keith Sacre & Professor Edward Wilson discussed how we dealt with past events such as Dutch Elm Disease and the many outbreaks of Phytophthora, the Emerald Ash Borer reared its ugly head over and over again (as if Ash haven’t got enough of a problem fighting off Ash Dieback Disease?!)
In the afternoon, we heard about possible arboricultural solutions – Dr Neil Strong explained how the rail network has a part to play in preventing the spread of pests and diseases across its’ nationwide network, there were a couple of schemes introduced which should hopefully ensure we import fewer pest & diseases on foreign grown trees – UK Sourced and Grown Assurance scheme adopted by The Woodland Trust and the National Trust’s Plant Health Standard scheme.
Then we all decided to move to Australia when Ian Shears explained how Melbourne manages its street trees (including the fabulous idea of giving individual e-mail addresses to over 77,000 trees so that the public could report any pest, disease or damage information to the Urban Forest Team. This actually resulted in the trees receiving love letters and daily messages from around the world!)
And finally, Dr Glynn Percival talked to us about the fascinating concept of boosting the immune system in trees in order to give them the best chance of fighting off pests and diseases! (If you’ve got a spare moment, have a look at Countryfile’s report on Ash Dieback Disease and the possibility of immunity after treatment with a product called biochar – very, very interesting!)
Day 2 focused on arboricultural solutions – Diversity, Ecology, Tree Selection & Environmental Management
We heard about surveying trees for bats from Jim Mullholland (and about his collection of 17 chairs – you had to be there?!) as well as the difficulties of surveying arboreal dormice from Sam Bower. There was hope for hollow trees from Guy Meilleur who built upon a presentation we saw earlier in the year from Frank Rinn about the Likelihood of Tree Failure. I think I speak for all 400+ attendees when I say that the most engaging speaker of the 2 days was Ted Green MBE!
His passion is clear when he speaks – he took us all back to basics with simple questions like “What is a tree?” and reminded us all that the key to healthy trees could be in getting the basics right, like we did in the past: healthy soil, natural resilience and an understanding that trees are a part of an integrated system, both supporting and supported by fungi and other micro-organisms.
If you ever get a chance to see him talk….go, you will not regret it!
So what did we learn?
We learnt that the future for tree health certainly isn’t a certainty.
We learnt that at the moment, there are more questions than answers.
We learnt that Melbourne really, really love their street trees.
And we learnt that Ted Green really knows how to stir up a room full of arborists and ecologists!!
To see Mike Raupp’s ‘Bug of the Week’ blog, click here: Bug of the Week
For more information about Melbourne’s Urban Forest (including e-mailing a tree!) click here: Melbourne’s Urban Forest
Find out more about the Woodland Trust’s UK Sourced & Grown scheme click here: Woodland Trust