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Tremendous programme announced for Tree Officers Conference

The programme for the National Tree Officers Conference 2019, the only major event in the UK dedicated to tree officers, has been unveiled. It will take place at Reading Town Hall on Wednesday 6 November.

The conference, organised by the London Tree Officers Association (LTOA), the Municipal Tree Officers Association (MTOA) and facilitated by the Institute of Chartered Foresters (ICF), comes at a time when trees in towns and cities are recognised by policymakers as having a crucial role to play in meeting the UK’s climate change target of net zero emissions by 2050.

Indeed, the key international speaker Gian Michele Cirulli, an urban tree manager with the Green Public Service of Turin City Council, Italy, will outline the role of trees in climate change, giving­­­­­­ an insight into current and future practices. He will talk about how to manage existing urban trees, many of which are over 50 years old, with political, environmental and public expectations.

Delegates will get an insight into the process of assessing current canopy cover and integrating planting proposals into new developments in the future as part of a council’s Local Plan. Phil Simpkin MICFor, will provide an update on his presentation at the 2016 conference on his work at Wycombe District Council.

Phillip Handley, a GIS specialist with Forest Research, will explain how a lack of data, or data of dubious quality, is preventing a knowledge-based approach to optimising benefits from trees in urban areas. He is working on developing a new data standard with the aim of putting the right trees in the right place as well as creating a world-leading dataset that allows better use of emerging technologies such as hyperspectral remote sensing, the Internet of Things and machine learning in managing urban forests.

The conference sessions cover planning, management, legislation, collaboration, diversity, standards and pests and diseases. Individual talks include the regulatory role of a tree officer, best practice for planning issues, tree legislation in Scotland and the reporting of invasive pests and diseases.

Louise Simpson

“Climate change is high on the political, social and environmental agenda therefore maintaining tree professionals’ standards within the urban realm, improving green infrastructure in towns and cities, is crucial to working towards a better world for us all. Importantly, the National Tree Officers Conference platform allows Tree Officers to showcase their work and, thereby, learn from each other ultimately improving the success of tree planting and maintenance, helping mitigate climate change and getting people connected to nature with all the associated health benefits that it brings,” said Louise Simpson, the Institute of Chartered Forester’s Development Director.

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