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JPA staff have been honing their skills and knowledge in many different areas over the past few months.

The theme of the annual Arboricultural Association (AA) Conference back in September was ‘healthy trees, healthy people’. Chris Hawley, our consultant with a particular specialism in tree pests and diseases, heard Prof Dr Cecil Konijnendijk van den Bosch, of the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, give a presentation about urban tree diversity for resilient and attractive cities. In his speech he talked about the ‘curse of symmetry’ and highlighted the need for ‘getting away from business as usual’ in urban tree planting.

Director Jeremy Peirce also picked up on the issue of resilience through diversity, a theme repeated by many of the speakers. ‘It is an issue that we as a sector need to grab hold of,’ he said. The 10/20/30 rule quoted by Prof Dr van den Bosch offered a rule of thumb for municipal forest creation of no more than 10 per cent of any particular species, 20 per cent of any one genus, or 30 per cent of any single family.

The direct relationship between green space and human health, outlined in a presentation by Dr Kathleen Wolf of the University of Washington, was Dan Vickridge’s standout issue of the three days.  This concept was echoed in Dr William Bird’s speech on the role of green space and wellbeing, dealing specifically with chronic stress and non-communicable diseases.

The AA has put a selection of the papers from this year’s conference on its website. http://www.trees.org.uk/Amenity-Conference-Presentations-2014

Veteran oak at Killerton 2013

On a wet and blustery day last week Chris was at Newnham Estate near Plymouth for an Ancient Tree Forum (ATF) gathering. While tramping around lapsed woodland pasture overrun with bracken he saw numerous trees of ‘good character’ and great interest – predominantly oaks with one particularly impressive old beech partially collapsed but surviving. The whole issue of veteran trees is currently being highlighted nationally by the Woodland Trust and Country Living magazine with their ‘Very Important Trees’  campaign launched last month, aimed at creating a register of ancient trees to help secure their protection. Our website gives a brief explanation of why veteran trees are important and outlines how they are viewed in the planning process.  http://www.jp-associates.co.uk/services/arboriculture/#sl-veteran-trees

Meanwhile, the slightly less national and strategic – but extremely important – issue of first aid needed further attention this autumn. Jeremy and the PM (practice manager, natch) have already renewed their Emergency First Aid at Work certificates; Chris and Dan to follow shortly. Even us consultants should always be prepared.

Because it is good to give as well as receive, we are delighted that Jeremy has been approached by Bicton College in East Devon to give some lectures to students on 'real world' arboriculture, primarily covering our work with trees and development. Watch this space.