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21st December 2017

Veteran Tree Management Standards available for public comment

 

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 Jim Mullholland, Training and Technical Officer, at training@ancienttreeforum.co.uk

Posted by: Jim Mullholland Jim is the Ancient Tree Forum's Training and Technical Officer. He has a background in ecology and arboriculture, and has worked as a tree officer. He has a particular interest in veteran trees and bats.

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