Urban forestry and landscape architecture

    In addition to being beautiful, the trees and gravel in the Place des Vosges are good for microclimate, wildlife and hydrology.

In addition to being beautiful, the trees and gravel in the Place des Vosges are good for microclimate, wildlife and hydrology.

All good foresters know that tree planting must serve multiple objectives: beauty, timber production, habitat creation, water management, public recreation, carbon cycle re-balancing etc. Urban landscape architects, on the whole, are less enlightened. Too often, they think of tree planting as decorative activity akin to the placement of public art in cities. Urban foresters should broaden their horizons, as rural foresters claim to have done.

Image of Place des Vosges courtesy of cripics

17 thoughts on “Urban forestry and landscape architecture

  1. Alison

    We need to persuade the lawmakers that trees are £££ and especially that large-growing long-lived trees must be planted in very large numbers in our cities now. Special consideration needs to be made for such trees as potential root zones are increasingly small/unavailable in urban areas. Can we imagine a future where services are rerouted/planned around rootzones – where rootzones themselves are protected by law and are big enough and good enough to enable our large native trees to thrive in cities?

  2. Tom Turner Post author

    It is a good idea to focus on “large-growing long-lived trees” and I would like to see them treated as “sacred” in the ancient sense of “set apart”.
    But persuading law-makers is difficult and BY FAR the best hope of doing it is through concerted action through the Landscape Institute. Just because it is a sleepy-stuffy-cautious outfit today does not mean it will always be this way. It needs younger and more enthusiastic activists to get involved.

  3. Marie-Aline

    When you finally accept and notice, that every tree in the world is perfect the way it grows, you learn to appreciate them and you feel you have to preserve and protect them. My feeling is: how more trees, how better. And it doesn’t matter where.

  4. Tom Turner Post author

    I hope you will visit Scotland. It used to be almost entirely covered by trees. They were taken away to make iron and to clear land for sheep. Would you like them ALL to be replaced?

  5. Marie-Aline

    Two years ago I went to Scotland for a school field trip, but we only visited the botanic gardens. I just saw the Scottish landscape on pictures. No, I wouldn’t have them all replaced, because of the character of Scotland, but replaced as much as possible can be replaced with not letting the scottish landscape completely disappeared.

  6. Christine

    Apparently species become extinct for 5 main causes under the acronym ‘HIPPO’.
    [ http://www2.scholastic.com/browse/lessonplan.jsp?id=391 ]

    H – Habitat loss
    I – Introduced species
    P – Pollution
    P – Population growth
    O – Overconsumption

    Usually, as is the theory with mammoth extinction the pressures on the species are from more than one source. ie. habitat loss and overconsumption.

    Maybe we need a clever graphic designer to come up with a hippo label to quickly identify the ways in which particular species are threatened? For example in the case of the Mammoth a Hippo symbol with the letters HO embedded in it?

  7. Christine

    ps. Then maybe someone could organise a hippos on parade event (like the painted cows) to raise awareness and funds. Perhaps architects and landscape architects could team up with artists and then sponsor an a hippo each?

  8. Tom Turner Post author

    Which of the five do you think is most likely to do for Homo sapiens sapiens? Or do you think we will manage all five, simultaneously? People talk about declining population being a disaster, as in Japan, but I admire the Japanese for it and wish we had the same trend in the UK. I would like to see buildings being abandoned and scrub invading farmland.
    Like kids, I have always had friendly feelings to Hippos but I read that the feelings are not reciprocated: they are aggressive and bad tempered.

  9. Christine

    Humans as an endangered species? There was a popular theory once that the mistaken push of a red button was going to end it all! Wikipedia gives a few more theories…
    [ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_extinction ]

    There is even a voluntary human extinction movement
    [ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voluntary_Human_Extinction_Movement ] The idea seems to be linked with Gaia theory and somehow through to green politics and the architect Buckminster Fuller! [ http://www.essential-architecture.com/ARCHITECT/ARCH-Fuller.htm ] Buckminster Fuller’s ideas are looking less radical as time progresses…

    According to the IUCN ‘Just for Kids’ you are quite right about Hippo temperament. Although it sounds as if the hippos are bad tempered because;

    a) They have been whacked on the nose and woken from their sleep with the paddle of a canoe

    b) They are startled during feeding by people walking past in the dark

    [ http://moray.ml.duke.edu/projects/hippos/JustForKids/HipposAndHumans.html ]

    I don’t suppose humans would be any sweeter tempered under such trying circumstances!

  10. Tom Turner Post author

    ‘All species become extinct’ on a geological timescale. For what will happen after that see:



    The dinosaurs were on earth for 40m years and ‘humans’ been here for 4m years. I do not think we are going to survive as long as they did. The hippos have a common ancestor about 20m years ago, so I don’t think we will beat them either. Perhaps we should live in pools and react badly when hit on the nose with paddles.

  11. Christine

    I’m not sure I can worry too much about a no human scenario! Do you think this is a serious concern? However, I do think we should all take to living in pools and reacting badly to being hit on the nose with paddles as you suggest!

    However since most of us aren’t used to the lifestyle perhaps we would need to try it out first? [ http://www.misoolecoresort.com/gettingthereandaway.html ]

  12. Sebastian Austin

    I’m a student currently studying Forestry. I am particularly interested in urban forestry and I hope to be a part of raising the awareness of urban forestry and the tree cover across urban areas when i eventually get into the industry.

    I am currently trying to find a work placement with an urban forestry company but I am finding it hard to find the right company, does anyone know of any good urban forestry companies that may be big enough to take a student on for a work placement?


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