City Trees

January/ February 2014

City Trees is a premier publication focused on urban + community forestry. In each issue, you’ll learn how to best manage the trees in your community and more!

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Page 13 of 39

Q&A about the Urban Tree Health Method Photos by Jerry Bond This 800-yr-old dance linden (Tilia platyphyllos) in Germany has lost its structural stability and would fall apart without the scaffolding. But its biological health continues to be very good and it renders good services to the surrounding community. City Trees interviews Jerry Bond (Urban Forest Analytics LLC), urban forestry consultant and author of the 2012 book, Urban Tree Health. We focus on understanding the overall concepts and procedures of his method rather than its scientific and technical details. the mechanical aspects of a living tree. But those two aspects are really very different, rather like the polyp and the coral reef it creates, and should be evaluated separately to avoid confusion. After all, we routinely see healthy trees fail, and stable trees die. CT: What is the basic approach of your method? CT: How do you define "tree health"? It strives for two great objectives: to be practical, so it Tree health refers to the capacity of a tree 1) to resist can be used in everyday situations, and to be precise, the disruption of the system (soil, climate, pests, so that its results are repeatable from one evaluation etc.) it inhabits and 2) to render services to the sur- to the next. rounding human community. This definition combines In order to achieve those objectives, the method ecological research with research about the environexcludes structural stability from its attention. And mental and social benefits that are so important for it separates observation from interpretation as rigorurban trees. ously as possible, so that field data collection can I use the word "health" rather than "condition," be reasonably insulated from factors such as differbecause condition includes both the biological and ences of knowledge, lack of experience, or bias. 14 City Trees

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