Ep.18 Urban Forestry In The 21st Century - John Parker (Arboricultural Association)

You're on the plants grow here podcast. I'm Daniel Fuller. Come along with me as we enter a hidden world of deep horticultural, ecological and landscape gardening knowledge with featured experts, industry professionals, and enthusiasts. The way we manage our trees is evolving in our cities. And in this episode, we'll be learning about what it means to shepherd urban forests in the 21st century. Our guest is john Parker, who's the technical director for the arboricultural Association in the UK, and is also a stone house town, Councillor.
Good day, john,
welcome to the show.
Hi, Daniel. It's great to be here. Thank you.
So john, what is a tree?
Well, that's a that's a surprisingly complicated question, really. I think a tree is the root some of the ground, it's the stem that holds up all the leaves in the canopy, it's the fruits and all that sort of thing. It's the bit that you see when you look directly at it. But a tree is also it's an ecosystem in its own right, you know, a tree is the microorganisms in the soil. It's the mycorrhizal associations with the funghi. You can say it's the nutrients in the water that run up and down through the tree. It's the lichen that lives on it, the fungus that grows around it, it's the birds and the animals that live in it and depend on it. And it's kind of the people who operate around it as well, I suppose. So a tree is a complicated thing. But let's say it's an ecosystem in its own right.
Right. It doesn't exist on its own at all.
No, it doesn't really exist on its own. I don't think he certainly you know, in a woodland or a forest situation, you can have your literal connections under the ground, the roots were may well have fused together, things that look like Woodlands might actually be one tree that's grown up from the ground in several different points, but it's all connected. But even in an urban environment, a tree can't just exist totally on its own even where it's been stripped out of its sort of natural habitat and stuck next to a busy street, it's still going to have some kind of connection with the ground, it's still going to have some kind of associations with flora and fauna are around so No, I don't think a tree ever really exists purely alone.
And how does that modern understanding of the benefits of trees compare with sort of how we used to perceive them in the past,
trees have long been appreciated by people as being something that's attractive, some is nice to look at, you know, it's green, and it's fluffy. And it's, it sits there looking nice. And that's great. And that is really important. And it's an important way of hooking people into the importance of trees. But there's a lot more to it than that. And if you just perceive something as being nice to have, you know, a luxury item, then that's when you if you run into economic difficulties, for example, that's the thing that the government's going to cut. That's the thing the local government, local authorities going to cut the budgets of because it's not seen as being really, really important. But trees are really important far beyond immunity. We know that trees deliver social, environmental and economic benefits. Collectively, they're sometimes called ecosystem services. And there's ways of putting valuations on those ecosystem services, you can demonstrate to your city or municipality, the value in pounds and pence or dollars and cents, to what these trees are actually delivering. I think there's some risks associated with putting too much of a monetary value on trees. But that's probably a bigger conversation for another day. But now I think the way we're viewing trees is that they're critical infrastructure. And they're not just something that's nice to have. They're as important in an urban environment as roads and pavements and buildings and streetlights and traffic signals.
Absolutely. I couldn't agree any more. So I guess like, what you're saying is, it's not just about property prices. It's not just about the cost of growing a tree. The tree has intrinsic value on its own. And it provides the sorts of benefits that can't be replicated by things that are not trees.
Yeah, that's absolutely right. Trees and multifunctional infrastructure. You know, most things we put in our urban environments, sort of do one thing, you know, lampposts are really, really important, but they lightened things up when it's dark, but that's kind of all they do, maybe, maybe you can hang a sign on them, as well as street signs or road signs or traffic lights, they tend to do one thing, trees do loads and loads and loads of things all at the same time. They're also the only asset that we put in the ground, which actually increases in value from the day you put it in the ground. Everything else we we install starts depreciating from the day of installation, trees only increase in value and can go on doing that for hundreds of years with relatively little maintenance. I mean, trees are really the Wonder infrastructure for the city and they should be appreciated as search and the people who manage those trees. People look after those trees should probably be respected a little bit more than they are as the people responsible for keeping these incredible machines running.
Absolutely. That's so much training, expertise and just absolute dedication that goes into that sort of work. And I'd like to talk about that a little bit later on in the episode, but can you tell me what urban forestry is
urban forestry policy? means slightly different things to different people, depending on where you are in the world I've discovered, but I suppose the urban forest can be defined as all of the trees within a given sort of boundary. So, for example, here in stone house, you could draw a line around the outside of stone house and say, that's your boundary of the town, every single tree within that boundary is part of the urban forest, regardless of whether it's a public tree, or a private tree roots in a park, graveyard, or housing, estate or back garden, they all form part of the urban forest, you could make the case that all of the other green infrastructure also falls part of the urban forests in the grass and vegetation, the flowers and all that sort of thing, too. So that's your urban forest. So urban forestry really, is the management of that green space, the management of that urban forest, for the benefit really of society. Yeah, I
mean, as humans, we like to separate you know, nature and not nature. But really, nature doesn't really distinguish what is a city and what is a forest,
nature doesn't really distinguish boundaries in the same way as we do. And that that breakdown in the relationship between people and the natural world is, I think, probably behind a lot of the problems that we face in our times at the moment. A lot of you know, children don't know where their food comes from, or people rarely get out there into the countryside. And it's interesting when you're a tree manager, the complaints you get people complained about leaves falling off trees, and people complain about the the trees making a noise, and you think, well, you're, you're complaining about the most natural processes there are, you know, this, street trees and urban trees, have a link between people and the city, and then the outside world. And I think it's also worth mentioning a sort of a paraphrase a chap called Rob Northrop, who's a good friend of mine, and he works out in Florida. And He really hates the idea of the word nature, because it suggests that there's some separation between people and humanity and nature. And he sort of says, we are we're all part of nature, we can't take ourselves outside of nature, because we are essentially animals. And we are part of the natural order. So there shouldn't even be that division between people. And the natural world is something we've become accustomed to, I think,
I absolutely agree. Can you tell us a little bit about how COVID-19 has highlighted the importance of green spaces in our cities?
Yeah. Again, I think this is experience has been felt all over the world, to a greater or lesser degree. But certainly there's been a lot of countries here in the UK, there's been restrictions on movement, or lockdown, whatever you want to call it up for a few weeks of this year. And what that's mean for a lot of people is that they're stuck inside, or they're at least confined to the immediate area around them. And what it's really highlighting, I think, is some of the inequalities in society without trying to get too political. If you've got if you've got a huge garden out the back of your house, then maybe locked down isn't quite so painful, because you've got loads of space to move around and do stuff. And if you don't have any form of green space that you own, then what's very important to you is those public green spaces that are around you, whether you've got a park close here, if you've got somewhere, you can go and walk and see to play with your children or ride your bike, that becomes ever more important. And it's not just about parks and open green space, it's also about street trees. And for a lot of people, if you're stuck inside, if you're locked down, you can't leave the house, your garden, essentially maybe that street tree that you can see through your window. So in some ways, I think that the COVID crisis has been almost quite good for arboriculture. In a way, he says slightly he has to leave, but I think it made a lot of people respect and appreciate the greenery on their doorstep, more than more than they did before.
Absolutely. I'm in Melbourne, and we had eight weeks of lockdown. And I actually live in an apartment in St Kilda with my wife. And we're really lucky that we live in Melbourne because Melbourne has some of the best parks have ever seen around the world. And we were just able to go for an hour walk every day. And it was just beautiful. I got to see parks I've never seen around my neighborhood before. And there's no value that you can place on that. And you said before that people complain about the birds.
Yeah, yeah, people that obviously people are wonderful, but they do find some strange things to complain about the, you know, we've known in arboricultural, urban forestry for a long time. Thanks. A lot of research has been done by many, many people that there's a very clear and proven link between human health and trees between physical health and mental well being. Being around trees makes you feel better about yourself. It's, you know, this is a really good thing to have. And I think a lot more people have probably realized that during the COVID crisis, but I would say I mean, I've never been to Melbourne but I can certainly say here in the UK, there are places where people don't have those parks nearby to them. Like you mentioned, I'm sure there's parts of Melbourne that don't have parks so close people could just walk through them and and roam around and do that and this is what we really need. To start thinking about now as a challenge, prop or coach in urban forestry in the 21st century is ensuring that everybody has fair and equal access to high quality green space, wherever they are, whatever their socio economic background.
So I guess we're talking about the term green and equity now, aren't we?
Yes, yes, exactly that.
So can you tell me a little bit about the benefits of trees as compared to some of the other plants in the urban forest like shrubs and you know, sort of smaller annual flowering plants and things like that?
Well, all green infrastructure and all elements of the urban forest, whether it's trees, or shrubs, or plants, they all do bring benefits to a greater or lesser degree. And it's, it's not that one is sort of, I guess, more important than the other, I suppose the most obvious response to that question is that trees tend to be bigger, you know, trees tend to be bigger organisms with woody stems. And if you've got a mature tree, you're 100 200 years old, and it's based on a chronological years necessarily, we've got a big tree with a big canopy, that is going to be delivering loads and loads of benefits. And a lot of the benefits we associate with trees are positively correlated to canopy size, and the bigger the canopy, the greater the benefit. So in terms of maybe air quality, or carbon sequestration, you might say that a big tree is going to be doing more of all that stuff than a small shrub or a flower, for example. But then that's not to say one is more important than the other. Some flowers or maybe an air of wildflower might be better for biodiversity, for example, habitat for pollinators in a large tree, it all depends on the species location, but quality, the maintenance, there's lots of considerations, but it's all important in all forms part of our green infrastructure. And as I've said, green infrastructure is a critical infrastructure just as important as the gray or the blue infrastructure in our towns and cities.
So I guess maybe it's more about the amount of photosynthesis, that it's doing the amount of sort of filtering of that carbon and etc, etc, etc, just because it has a larger canopy.
Yeah, that's part of it. But it's, it's, it's always a mistake to focus too much on one benefit. So if you're just thinking about, for example, trees that create shade, if you just think right shade is the thing that trees are going to do here. You might plant loads and loads of big canopy trees that are going to grow quite quickly as to be shadow, cool things down through evapotranspiration, you think, right, great. We've done it. That's the urban forest sorted. But actually, maybe those big trees don't produce any fruit, or maybe they're not good for pollinators. Or maybe there's no cultural heritage with them. So I actually think what we want to get trees, but the reflect those different things. So you need to have a really healthy, diverse mixed urban forest, large stuff, small stuff, all different shapes and sizes, there's room for all of it. Because as I said, trees are multifunctional infrastructure. They do a lot of things. But sometimes in quite small ways, you know, it's collectively, one tree may only intercept relatively small amounts of rainwater, for example, but when you scale it up across the whole urban forest, that's a really big impact is going to have on people's lives. So it's sometimes better to look at the whole urban forest than just the individual tree.
It kind of reminds me if some people sometimes say like, oh, get rid of your lawn, you know, plant flowers, and I sort of think like, Yeah, but cross roots are great, like all the action of grace is happening underneath the ground, you know?
ration is really important.
Hmm, absolutely. So let's go back to trees again, can you tell me a little bit about what is an arborist and what training is necessary to become an arborist.
So an arborist really is anyone who works with trees, I suppose in the UK, if we talk about an arborist, we're typically talking about what might be called a tree surgeon as well. So actually, the people who go out there, climbing the trees and doing the pruning and that sort of side of it, that the contractor side, the practical side, as opposed to the consultants or the tray offices, or me sitting on my desk. So that's typically what we would say an arborist is. One of the problems we've got in the UK, and I think this is an issue around the world as well is that it's an it's an unregulated industry. So anybody can go out there down the shop, buy himself a chainsaw, and then say, I'm now an arborist and they can go off and they can make a living as an arborist. And they may well be the best arborist in the world. But if they haven't got any training or any qualifications, they're probably not the best arborist in the world. It's, you can use the example of a doctor, you can't just go to the shop, buy a stethoscope and say, I'm a doctor now golf and start healing people, you're not allowed to do that. I tried very, very clear that you're not allowed to do that. So why do we keep tolerating this for arboriculture? I suppose. So. That's one issue. In terms of the training that's necessary. There's lots of training out there but chainsaw licenses, chippa licenses, all the different tools and equipment you should be able to need. You should really learn how to climb safely in accordance with best practice, obviously on first aid stuff as well. And then as you look at other parts of the industry You might want to get qualifications like technical certificates, national diplomas, degrees, Masters, tree inspection courses, there's loads of qualifications out there, depending on which area or culture you you want to move into.
And is there any kind of an international code for, you know, arboriculture
in terms of training and assessment? Yeah, I
can't remember what it's called. But I've heard others talk about an international standard, I'm not sure if it's formalized or not.
Well, there's the International Society for arboriculture, the iisa, they run accreditation programs and training and a very well respected internationally. There's also in Europe, the European arboricultural Council, they run certification schemes for tree climbers and tree technicians in the UK, because we don't always like to do things other people are doing. We've got our own system of systems, I think it varies around the world. But the important thing really is that there should be a standard, we says, this is how you do things properly. And this is how you do things safely. And that you can hold people against that standard. And you can hold them to a certain benchmark that has been nationally or internationally set, because that's safer for people. And it's also better for the trees.
Yeah, and when we're talking about trees, we're sort of talking about multi generational benefits here, you know, you don't plant a tree and expect to receive all the benefits tomorrow.
No, you certainly don't, I think you've got to be slightly strange, sometimes to work, or culture, and attract some kind of weird people, I can say that about all of my colleagues around the world. When we're doing something naturally, humans like to see a sort of quick return, you'd like to do something, and you get a result from it, and you go, that feels good. You know, that's, that's, that's what I was setting out to do. But we really do things that we know, we're not going to see the full benefits of. And that's quite a strange mindset to have. And when you're talking to people about well, you know, it might look a bit rough now, but it's going to look amazing in 100 years, difficult to people to get their head around and fantastic British award culturalist Ted green, he's always telling me to think in tree time, don't rush it, john thinking tree time, you know, you've got to look at things and we work on a different timescale, I think in our culture. And that's a problem for us. Because we are working with organisms that may have been there for 100 years before we were born, we look after them for a couple of years, or maybe we we go and visit them and prune them once or we write a report on the ones and then we leave and don't go back. But that tree is going to be there for another 100 or 200 years afterwards. It's kind of weird to work with organisms that are that long lived. But also we have to operate with forced to operate into an artificial human timescale of political cycles. So people, you know, these promises about tree planting, and we're going to plant a million trees or 100 million trees, that there are politically driven targets. They're not looking, they're not thinking in tree time, they're thinking in electoral time. And we have to do things that we do with nature, and looking for future generations. And there's that that great old Greek quote, I think it is about a society grows great when old people plant trees in the shade of which they know they will not sit. And I think that in many ways sums up our board culture and Forestry.
Absolutely. And when you're talking about these sorts of long time frames, what's the difference between planting a tree compared with establishing one?
Well, people talking about tree planting is all the rage at the moment. And it's great because tree planting is really important. And we obviously like people talking about tree planting. I think it's a bit unfortunate, the trees have been sort of pushed forward as the solution to climate change. And if we can just plant billions of trees and we've saved the planet, it feels like that lets people off the hook a little bit for not having to make other changes in their lives and are probably required, but it's getting people talking about tree planting. But that's the only bit they ever talk about. And there's a lot more to it than that, that the act of planting itself is pretty simple. You know, you stick a tree in the ground and it's you know, it's it's quite it's a difficult thing to do. Don't get me wrong specialism. As I'm right, you're basically putting something in a hole in the ground is what you're doing a half an hour an hour, it's quite a quick thing to do. But before that point, it may have taken seven to eight years for that tree to have been produced in the nursery from the seed or cutting or however it's been produced, carefully looked after in the nursery, imported from somewhere maybe maybe grown in the country and transported. Someone's got to have picked a planting site for it. Someone's got to have selected the species someone's got to have designed the pet maybe or worked out exactly where it's going to go. And then you plant it in the ground, then you've probably got three years worth of young tree maintenance when you're looking at watering that tree. Formative pruning, putting down mulch sorting out staking ties, you've got to really take it through those important first few And then after that, depending on what kind of tree you've planted, you might have 50 100 200 years of inspections and maintenance. So a tree, looking after a trees is a job that kind of takes a couple of 100 years. And at the moment, all people really seem to be talking about planting the act of sticking that tree in the ground. And what we're trying to say to people really here at the arboricultural Association is there's no point planting millions of trees, if they're all going to die, it's better to plan a dozen trees well, and look after them and have them grow on and establish and, and deliver all these wonderful ecosystem services in the future than it is to plant 10,000 trees that are are all going to just fail because they're not being looked after properly. So it's trying to get people to think slightly differently about tree planting. But one of the challenges there is that tree maintenance isn't very sexy, you know, no, no politician is going to get elected by promising to properly maintain and mulch a million trees next year, that's not going to get you elected, it will get you elected to say, and I'm going to plant a million trees and be blue. And it's important. It's great. But it's like it's all to do with this tree time. Again, I suppose it's we can't just you can't just stick a tree in the ground and walk away and think that's your big done. It's not that's the beginning. In fact, it's not even the beginning.
Yeah, sort of get like getting stuck on step one. But what does it mean to plant the raw tree in the right place?
The right tree in the right place is I guess it's kind of as it sounds on return in a way it's trying to make sure that you've picked the right location for what you want to plan. And then you've you've selected a species that fits that location. So it's a nice, it's a nice phrase, and it's completely right. And we try and live by it. But I think it's probably a bit overused, sometimes. There's more to it than that. So what started happening in the last couple of years, people are almost adding, adding extra bits to the end. So I've heard right tree in the right place for the right reason, for example, and I think that's important. Why are you trying to you're trying to create shade? Are you trying to create, you know, food for people or for animals? Are you trying to intercept rainfall, because that will depend on what you're trying to achieve will influence what you're selecting. So I think that's very good. The one that we try and use quite a lot of the association is planting the right tree in the right place with the right aftercare. And that goes back to what I've been saying about the maintenance, he doesn't matter what you plan or where you plant it, unless you look after after it's gone in, it's gonna die. So that is something very important to think about too. And then you've got to think really about who's making those decisions, because this is where we try and promote the importance of our board culture as a profession and as arborist and urban foresters and our board culturalist. There the PA who is in a right, who is who has got the knowledge and the experience to say that that is the right tree that is the right place. That is the right reason. And that is the right aftercare. Well, though, it's not enough just to think about it, the people making those decisions really should be if not qualified, trained professionals, or at least experienced people who know what they're doing.
And that's how you plan a city for the future.
Exactly. Yeah, you That is exactly a plan to study for the future. And it's not enough. You know, sometimes people want to bring in enormous trees that have this instant impact. And that's kind of not how trees work. You've got to start small start from the seed and work your way up from there.
Totally. So do you have any advice for our listeners when it comes to sort of, you know, whether it's planting their entries or looking after their trees, and they're just not trained professionals, but they have trees and they want to look after them?
You need to approach all these things carefully. So I think the first thing I say is, yeah, but the health and safety side of things, and sorry to sound like a killjoy, but a lot of people get badly hurt when they're trying to prune trees. Yeah, chainsaws are really dangerous. I hate chainsaws have really dangerous things. And they should only really be used by people who know how to use them. So I would say if if there's any risk at all, consider calling in a professional because that's what they're paid for and trained to do. read up about stuff, learn about stuff. There's loads on the internet. Now there'll be loads of organizations in Australia. I know arboricultural, Australia's got loads of stuff. We've got trees.org.uk, which is the our cultural Association website. There's lots and lots of information there for tree owners and homeowners or people who are interested in trees or want to do some work in I don't know what exactly the equivalent is in Australia, I think it might be the same. But here I always tell people to contact their local tree officer. Tree officers are brilliant people that work in local government local authority. They're the custodians of the urban trees. And they're a great starting point for people who want to find out more about what kind of tree they should plan or whether or not they can or should cut a tree down or prune it or who might be a good contractor to go and contact Trade offices are a really good valuable source of information. So talk to a professional read up online as well. And yeah, in your enjoy it, that's the main tip for your trees, the father of modern agriculture, Alec shaido, his book was, was touch trees. And that's what we should all go and do touch trees.
So what does the future hold for urban forestry in the UK and around the world? JOHN?
Well, what is future hold always, always a tricky one to try and predict I, I'm hoping that there is more awareness of trees and urban forestry now than there was before partly because so much work has been done by many wonderful people in terms of research and dissemination of information to explain why trees are critical infrastructure and why they're so important. And also partly because of the COVID crisis and, and a new appreciation that many people have for trees and green space. So I'm hoping that's raising public awareness. I'm hoping that's then going to tap into the political awareness. And we're seeing that we're seeing that in the manifesto promises to plant 10s of millions of trees every year. So it is starting to get through in the UK, there's certainly more policy noises that we've had in previous years, the government is listening to the fact that people are saying that trees are important. But I think it's trying to get it right and maybe converting that to people appreciating that. It's not just about planting, as I say, you know, that it's not just that bit. So I'm hoping the future is people understanding that it's not just about planting, there's more to it than that. I'm hoping that people start recognizing that it's not just trees that are important. It's about the people who look after the trees as well. Because if you care about trees, you really need to care about tree professionals to these aren't things that just happen by themselves. In urban areas, particularly obviously, trees are very adept at happening by themselves. In other places, in urban areas, the trees don't just do it all alone, they are looked after by people, whether that's the person who spent them for planting the tree, obviously, you maintain managers, the tree surgeon, he goes and prints them, the consultant who, who writes the specifications for them, the other nursery that produced it, there's a whole range of our board cultural professionals out there, who I don't think at the moment really get the recognition they deserve. So I hope the future involves people appreciating our border culture, as a science and a specialist discipline. That is essential if people want to have healthy communities and healthy cities. Maybe we could start thinking in tree time rather than human time. Quite right to we should all think in free time. Absolutely.
You're currently leading a new project called the stone house community Arboretum. Can you explain what's involved with that?
Yeah. So in stone house, we were in a very beautiful part of the UK. We're in the Cotswolds down in Gloucestershire, which I think everyone agrees is the finest county in Britain.
according to, according to I've never been England, but is that is that what people really say? Or is that what you say?
That's what I say? That's what I say. No, I mean, it is it is undoubtedly a beautiful area. And yeah, the course was a sort of area of outstanding natural beauty. And we're a town here in stone house, about eight and a half 1000 people. So we're surrounded by rural countryside, but it's an urban area where we are and we have got a very supportive town council and some really keen community groups and some great stakeholders who are all interested in trees, keen to see us approach our tree management in a slightly different way to other people perhaps so the Stonehouse community Arboretum is an attempt to make an arboretum there's not a conventional Arboretum, there's no walls, there's no gates, there's no tickets. This is an arboretum that is made up of all of the trees and public spaces on the streets and people's gardens. across the whole of Stonehouse, we're going to be mapping them, we're going to be maybe sort of labeling some of them. We're going to be trying to make this a resource, planting and establishing many, many different species of trees, but in a sustainable, responsible way. So we're trying to sort of live all the things that I've just been preaching. So last year, we planted I think, 15 trees this year, I think we're planting another 15. So it's pretty small numbers. It's not a headline grabbing numbers, but we're trying to do them properly. With sourcing these trees, from good nurseries with good biosecurity policies. We're only planting what we can afford to buy. We're only planting what we can afford to maintain. We are involved in the community at every stage of the way with leading things like tree walks and doing tree presentations to try and engage people with their trees and bring the community in the trees together. We're working with the local schools, the arboricultural Association, this is where we're based in stone house. We're very proud to be based in this part of the world and we want to work more closely with the community too. So it's really showing how For the stakeholders in the public and the private sector, and mainly the community can work together with trees, learning best practices from all over the world, to create something very special. That's not only a source of local pride, and hopefully local tourism, we're thinking entry time, 50 or 100 years, I like to think that people might come to stone house just to see the trees, but also that will be bringing the social, environmental and economic benefits to the people of stone house.
Totally. And do you think that you'll be providing a model that the rest of the world can sort of look to for maybe a bit of a model, I guess,
I'm hoping so I think that, you know, I can list you all the different things that we've been doing. And you can find examples of where other places in the world are doing pretty much all of those things, I don't think anything we're doing is particularly new and original, you know, we're doing things like we've written a tree strategy, we're now doing tree surveys, we're engaging the community in tree planting, we're making sure we do proper young tree maintenance, none of these things are kind of, you know, massively groundbreaking, but we're pulling it all together, in like I say, in this particular way, and we're focused on this community Arboretum, I think that may be is quite unusual. But again, there's places you know, the borough of Hackney, in in London is has been leading the way in terms of planting unusual species for many, many years, they've essentially got an arboretum on the streets as it is. So we're not trying to claim it claim anything. No groundbreaking, but it's a project that I'm hoping will inspire some other towns that don't approach things in the same way. And hopefully, yeah, may may may provide a model for others elsewhere going forward. Definitely. Hmm.
That's great. Is there anything else you'd like our listeners to know about? Yeah, anything
else? I want your listeners to know about our? Well, I should this is an opportunity to plug stuff, isn't it really, and I haven't particularly I haven't thought through too well. Anything else I'd like listeners to know about one of the main opportunities that's come up for us during this COVID crisis has been connecting more effectively with people in other parts of the world. And, you know, when the lockdown here, and we had to cancel basically all of our events and all the normal things we did, we moved online quite quickly, and we started a webinar series online, we pretty much do one webinar every week. And they're all available on our website@trees.org.uk. But what that triggered was a real global conversation we've we've had, I think more than 90 countries have watched our webinars live with us, we frequently get people from every continent, watching the webinars at the same time, and talking to each other about trees talking about urban forestry. And it's really been fantastic to see that global conversation develop. So I suppose maybe what I'd say to your listeners, all I'd talk about as not even a project, but it's it's good to share ideas. Globally, it's good to work together internationally, it's all about collaboration. And just having been invited to do this is amazing. You know, this is a great example of working together on opposite ends of the world, I think we should use COVID as an opportunity maybe to refocus some of our priorities, to maybe appreciate trees a little bit more to appreciate the technology we've got, which means that we can have this conversation and that we can run these webinars, bringing people together, who wouldn't ordinarily speak to each other and giving a platform to people who wouldn't ordinarily have one. And I think that is something that we should all be thinking about and seeking ways to, to work together more. And of course, we should all be thinking in three time.
Well, my wife and I would actually like to have future children be able to live in a world with plenty of trees and connections. So I really love that message, john?
Well, absolutely, there's, there's no better thing you can do future generations and planting a tree really, planting a tree when the world is in the state is in at the moment is a real statement of hope as well. And I think we can all do a little bit of hope. Totally.
Maybe we could change that to establish a tree though.
JOHN, thank you so much for coming on the show. I hope our listeners have learned a lot about urban forestry. And maybe some of the old fashioned ways of thinking can sort of maybe be left in the past because we're thinking about urban management of trees in a very different way these days, aren't we?
We are Yeah, we are aboard coach. And Firstly, they're quite new disciplines. We're learning all the time. And we've got to keep looking to the future. And that's, that's what we're trying to do. Thanks, john. much. Appreciate it, man. Thank you very much. It's been great to judge you. Thanks.
No worries. You can do your part to help them open fires by keeping old growth trees on your property where possible and establishing new plants as john has pointed out. As always, check the show notes for relevant clickable links, including Some educational resources available through the arboricultural Association. If you're new to podcasts, the easiest way to find the clickable show notes is to go to the podcast page from plants grow here.com so like this episode, hover over the player and click the lower case icon. Stay tuned because next week we'll be diving deep into irrigation with Andrew Webb from breeze plumbing.

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