21st February 2018
David Blake, ATF Wessex chair, and co-founder, has stepped down following relocating to Scotland. The Ancient Tree Forum would like to thank David for all of his great work in setting up and running a number of successful ATF Wessex events since it’s inception.
Do you have a passion for veteran trees in the Wessex area? If you would like to help with the running of ATF Wessex please get in touch.
14th February 2018
The event report for the October launch of the Sustainable Soils Alliance (SSA) is now available to read on the their website (see here).
It contains their eight-point Call to Action, an overview of the main priority areas for government and stakeholder intervention needed to reverse the crisis in our soils and restore them to health within one generation – from incentives and regulation to education, training, monitoring and evaluation.
25th January 2018
VETcert, the project seeking to develop a certification scheme for those who work with veteran trees, reaches another milestone. In November, veteran tree enthusiasts from across Europe descended on Gilwell Park, London for a five day workshop aiming to fine tune the veteran tree management standards ready for public consumption.
The Ancient Tree Forum are responsible for producing the veteran tree management standards for the project. To guide the production of these standards a questionnaire was circulated in early 2017. A strong response to the questionnaire was received, with 288 people taking the time to complete the survey.
The focus of the workshop was to discuss and revise the standards ready for a public consultation. ATF chair, Russell Miller, was on hand to chair the meeting and steer us through the five days of discussions which included topics such as existing veteran tree standards, good and bad management practice, prerequisites of entry to VETcert, what level the standards should be aimed at, and the content of the standards.
Whilst working on improving the standards, there were opportunites for partners to discuss the finer points of veteran tree management and share knowledge. Frequent field trips were made to neighbouring Epping Forest to facilitate discussion and confirm understanding. The meeting was held in English, however there were six nationalities present, all of whom did an amazing job discussing a detailed standard in a second, or even third, language; I think it is fair to say that our European partners put the English representatives to shame with their language skills.
At the end of the five days we were left with a set of draft standards ready for public comment. There are two standards, one for practicing professionals (tree surgeon/forester) and one for consultants. Each standard is split into 11 units covering the wide range of skills and knowledge required for veteran tree management:
- Veteran trees; recognition and values.
- Growth, development and dysfunction of trees.
- Roots of veteran trees and the soil environment.
- Veteran trees as ecosystems.
- Veteran trees and people.
- Veteran tree survey and assessment.
- Legislation in relation to veteran trees.
- Veteran tree risk management.
- Veteran trees, urban planning and infrastructure.
- Personal skills.
- Veteran tree management.
These standards can be found on the VETcert website (http://www.vetcert.eu/standards-certificates), along with a SurveyMonkey questionnaire for providing feedback. The consultation is open to anyone with experience of managing veteran trees and will run until 31st January 2018.
A big thank is due to our VETcert partners, as well as all of those who have expressed an interest in the project or taken the time to provide their input.
Further updates will be provided until the project comes to a close in August 2019. If you have any queries about VETcert please Contact Us Here
8th August 2017
The project seeking to develop a certification scheme for those who work with veteran trees is well underway. In June the VETcert partners met in Gloucestershire at an event hosted by the Arboricultural Association.
On the Sunday in advance of the meeting, the partners were treated to a visit to Crickley Hill led by Simon Cox, Technical Officer for the Arboricultural Association. This was an opportunity for partners to catch up, as well as look at some beech pollards and ancient oaks.
Monday morning started with a trip to the Tortworth Chestnut, led by Jim Mullholland, Training and Technical officer for the Ancient Tree Forum. Jim, who lives around the corner from the tree, explained its history and showed some of the vast collection of lithographs, paintings and sketches the Tortworth Estate company have amassed.
7th August 2017
The City of London Corporation and the Ancient Tree Forum have committed to working together to protect the UK’s ancient and other veteran trees and to safeguard future generations of old and precious trees, by jointly signing the ATF’s Concordat.
The document was signed and sealed at Epping Forest, during the ATF’s July conference, by, Philip Woodhouse, Chairman of the Epping Forest Management Committee, and Russell Miller, the ATF’s Chair (both pictured).
‘The conference was a great success and it was an excellent opportunity to discuss the health and well-being of these hugely important trees’ said Philip Woodhouse. ‘The timing of the signing of the declaration couldn’t be better because the City of London Corporation is celebrating the 800th anniversary of the Forest Charter this year. This Charter protected ancient rights of ordinary citizens in the Forest, which helped to maintain the ancient trees for centuries and eventually ensured the survival of the Forest in the 19th Century, when the City of London stepped in to save it for the nation.’
30th March 2017
VETcert, the project to develop a Europe-wide accreditation scheme for those working on veteran trees, officially started in December with partners from seven European countries meeting in Brussels. As part of the standard setting stage of the project, the ATF is now seeking the views of stakeholders within the UK on the minimum requirements for those working on veteran trees.
The ATF is a main partner in the project and is leading on the standard setting section of the project in recognition of the wealth of experience and knowledge within the organisation. Since December, work has also begun on researching existing accreditation schemes in other sectors, to see what can be learnt from them.
A short questionnaire has been produced which includes questions on specific issues relating to veteran trees in the UK as well as questions on the minimum knowledge and skills required for those working at both a practicing level (tree surgeons) and at a consulting level.
We would welcome the input of the ATF’s supporters who are asked to complete the online survey by Friday 21 April. For more information about the VETcert project Please Contact Us Here.
18th January 2017
Ted Green, the Ancient Tree Forum’s Founder President, has been awarded the Royal Forestry Society (RFS)’s highest honour – a Gold Medal for Distinguished Services to Forestry.
In proposing Ted for the award, Derick Stickler of the RFS said that ‘he speaks with passion and enthusiasm, and presents his audience with ideas that are often treated with scepticism at first, but which are now part of mainstream debate in forestry and arboriculture circles.’ Or, as Ted likes to joke, ‘They seem to like me shouting at them!’
The RFS also credits Ted with bridging the gaps between forestry and conservation and influencing the debate in forestry and arboriculture for more than 50 years. Derek Stickler, who worked with Ted at Windsor for more than 20 years, said ‘Through Ted’s work with the Windsor Estate it could be demonstrated to practicing forestry professionals, conservationists and students that silviculture and conservation are not mutually exclusive.’
Ted too feels that his main achievement is having pushed for the recognition among foresters, of the value of ancient trees. ‘Biodiversity works for timber production’, he says.
It was the people involved in forestry that first drew Ted to trees, he explains. ‘People who are connected to trees are special sort of people’. As a child during the war, he would often spend time with foresters at Windsor (‘the old foresters, the young ones had gone to war’). Later, he got to know the Canadian lumberjacks who came over to work there.
Ted has received many awards over the years, but he’s especially proud of the RFS award: ‘This medal represents recognition for the huge value of ancient trees,’ he says.
7th December 2016
The Ancient Tree Forum is backing a campaign to save the last remnant of a medieval deer park from being turned into a housing development. ATF’s supporters are urged to register their opposition to the development.
The planning application for 227 houses in Aldermaston Park near Reading, which has caused local uproar, would see the loss of more than 180 trees (60% of the trees in the application area), some of which are hundreds of years old. The damage to this important wildlife habitat and nationally important historic parkland is being justified on the basis that it will ensure the remainder of the habitat can be adequately managed. The site is Grade two listed on the National Heritage List for England’s Register of Parks and Gardens.
16th November 2016
Historic England, the public body that looks after England’s historic environment, is probably best known for its work with historic buildings and monuments, but it also cares about natural environments, and has now made a firm commitment to protecting ancient and other veteran trees.
This autumn, Historic England’s Director of Planning, Chris Smith, signed the Ancient Tree Forum’s Concordat, at a meeting with Russell Miller, Chair of the Ancient Tree Forum, and other trustees. The document begins with the statement that ‘Ancient trees are a vital and treasured part of the natural and cultural landscape. They support a stunning diversity of wildlife and are a very important and highly valued part of our heritage.’ The Concordat goes on to set out a vision for ancient and other veteran trees to be safeguarded, and outlines the commitment it expects from its signatories, which also include the National Trust and the Arboricultural Association.
10th November 2016
With a little help from Ted Green, the Ancient Tree Forum’s Founder President, a bronze sculpture of a 900 year old oak tree from Windsor Great Park was recently presented to the Queen, to commemorate her contribution to the arts in the year of her 90th birthday.
The ceremony took place at the Royal Academy, where the Queen presented awards to five individuals who have made a national contribution in the fields of visual arts or architecture, including artist Grayson Perry and photographer Martin Parr. Each were given a bronze acorn, also replicas from the Windsor tree.