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I love it when I see Australian Councils doing great things about trees as it shows that we are growing in this area to follow what I perceive has been happening in the US & the UK for decades.
I recently wrote about the City of Melbourne’s initiative to increase their current canopy of 60,000 public trees by almost 100%. See – http://bit.ly/AaoIZs Their latest initiative is to create Exceptional Tree Register. To do this they are encouraging the community to be involved & to “recognise, celebrate & protect the exceptional trees that exist on private land in our city.”
The Woodland Trust in the UK has been doing something similar by asking the community to help them in their search for ancient trees. They have just registered Tree Number-100,000; an ancient Juniper in North Yorkshire. Their 100,000th ancient tree! Isn’t that stunning & still the hunt goes on. What a great way to educate the community on the benefits of trees as well as to appreciate & protect trees. See – http://www.ancient-tree-hunt.org.uk/
Some of the criteria the City of Melbourne is using to classify an exceptional tree is its horticultural, historical, aesthetic & habitat value, whether it is rare, old or big, whether it has a historical link to its location (like the trees around the Marrickville Town Hall), whether it add to the aesthetics of the locality, has indigenous associations or a social, cultural or spiritual value. That’s a lot of areas where a private tree may fit the bill & be included on the register. Much better than making it so hard to qualify that great trees miss out because they are not native or indigenous to the area.
We have some spectacular Oak trees in Stanmore that must have been planted in the days when deer hunting was part of the area’s recreational pastime. Forgive me if I am wrong here. Someone once told me years ago that the turrets on top of many of the grand old buildings in Stanmore were so that the local gentry could observe the deer or fox hunters as they rode past. I’d like it to be true, but would equally like to know what the turrets were for if not for this purpose.
Melbourne City Council say that they have around 20,000 private trees, near to the 25,000 public trees Marrickville Council estimate we currently have, so there is bound to be a rich choice of spectacular trees hidden away in back gardens. Add the 60,000 public trees & you can see why the city of Melbourne is a green place. Melbourne people do love & respect their trees.
“The Exceptional Tree Register aims to –
- Recognise & celebrate the City of Melbourne’s trees by promoting & raising awareness of existing exceptional trees.
- Support the custodians of Melbourne’s exceptional trees by providing expert advice & opportunities to promote their tree.
- Protect Melbourne’s exceptional trees through the Melbourne Planning Scheme so that planning permission is required to undertake any action that may harm the tree.
- Encourage shared responsibilities for the retention & care of trees that span property boundaries.
- Promote tree planting on private properties – trees that may become the exceptional trees of the future & increase canopy cover in our city.”
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if our own Marrickville Council could do the same as part of the Tree Inventory process being undertaken this year. I suspect Council would receive many nominations if they got the word out there that they were seriously interested in private trees.
I would assume at some stage Council will want to know the percentage of the private tree canopy. Expanding this further to include a register of exceptional private trees would have many benefits, not least the opportunity to educate the community on the benefits of trees & promote a culture change to one that respects or even celebrates trees.
Though there would certainly be some that would not like their tree to be included in the register for fear of future development restrictions, such a register would go a long way to protect the wonderful trees that are being lost to development upsetting the community who see these trees as an important part of the landscape. It would also help stop the increasing loss of habitat trees for urban wildlife. It’s food for thought anyway. I love to know what you think.
The Woodland Trust has achieved its tree planting initiative for the community to plant 1-million trees across the UK in February 2012 to celebrate & mark the Diamond Jubilee of HM Queen Elizabeth. The Woodland Trust plans for the community to plant 6-million trees overall. The community tree planting will be creating hundreds of new woodlands called Jubilee Woods. 60 Diamond Woods will also be created.
Back in 1936 the community planted trees to mark the coronation of King George VI. What species of tree, where it was planted & who planted it was documented in a book called the Royal Record of King George VI’s Coronation. This book has been put online for the Jubilee Woods Project, allowing anyone to search the records to see if trees planted back then are still alive.
I would love to have something like this happening for any reason in NSW & other states. It would have to be a bigger tree-planting target because of the vast size of Australia. It’s very inspiring & a brilliant way to teach people of the value of trees as well as mark an important occasion in a country’s history. See – http://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/en/jubilee-woods/latest-news/Pages/millionth_tree.aspx
I came across this video today posted by Australia’s Veteran Tree Group of a mighty Oak tree in Calke National Nature Reserve South Derbyshire UK. The tree is the oldest Oak tree in Calke Park & is estimated to be between 700-1,000 years old.
From the video description, “… this oak contains some of the rarest saproxylic habitat in Europe.” I had to look this word up. Saproxylic refers to a lifestyle within rotting wood or deadwood habitat, something that we don’t have much of in Marrickville LGA.
The tree itself is quite amazing & very beautiful. It is surrounded by a fence to protect the roots & even this has had a paling removed to allow a branch free movement. The other trees near the Oak are also quite wonderful. Listening to the voice describing the tree is great because you hear the excitement, awe & respect for this tree. Well worth watching at less than 5-minutes. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R_x7UHPOE7I&feature=share
It’s also worth going to the Woodland Trust’s webpage to see photos of the Old Man of Calke taken during the summer months when he is all green & leafy. http://frontpage.woodland-trust.org.uk/ancient-tree-forum/atfnews/news04/calkename.htm