The National Tree Officer Conference 2022

Just over a week ago, our innovation manager Daisy returned from a brilliant day out at the National Tree Officers Conference in Telford. The NTOC is an annual conference, hosted and coordinated by the Institute of Chartered Foresters, the Association of Tree Officers, the Municipal Tree Officers Association and the London Tree Officers Association. This year, the focus of the conference was on long-term arboricultural management practices, legal aspects of tree management and the benefits of community engagement.

Conference organisers recognised that accelerating climate change and the pandemic have increased public awareness of the need for accessible green infrastructure to support well-being in our lives. The role that good tree management provides in delivering these benefits was at the heart of many of the presentations on the day.

A slide from a presentation at the NTOC22 that states the things Santa Monica urban foresters are measuring

Setting Good Management Standards

One of the presentations that really stood out was Matthew Wells MICFor, who was once the Arboricultural Officer for Camden, a location where Crown Tree Consultancy complete a lot of arboricultural reports for planning purposes. Matthew has long since graduated from that role however and has been working in the United States as a Public Landscape Manager for the City of Santa Monica for a number of years. There he delivers an urban forestry program that places much of its emphasis on routine maintenance and collecting reliable data.

It was his focus on the collection of reliable data by urban forest managers that made this one of the highlight speeches.

“What gets measured, gets managed, gets done”,  Matthew reiterated Peter Druker’s famous phrase, and he backed this up with a slide showing all the areas that Santa Monica is measuring, and the intervals/frequency at which such inspections are being made, you can see this slide below. Annually, they are measuring; net tree gain/loss, species diversity and street tree stocking. Every five years they are measuring young tree mortality and ecosystem services and every decade they are doing an urban tree canopy survey.

A slide from a presentation at the NTOC22 that states the things Santa Monica urban foresters are measuring

Delving Into Tree Establishment Mortality

Having attended the conference on a bursary from Fund4Trees, Daisy enquired further as to the technique Santa Monica urban foresters used to monitor young tree mortality. Matthew said they have been calculating this by revisiting a sample of newly planted sites after 5 years and recording details about the condition of the trees. He also stated that this survey had been done by an independent party to ensure the council was not “marking their own homework”, enabling changes to management to be made where necessary.

A photo of daisy brasington and the survey documents she was handing out at the NTOC alongside a photo of the conference hall with people listening to a speech

The availability of young tree mortality data from the UK is something that Daisy is hoping to research in detail in the coming months, and she has begun this by asking as many tree officers as possible to complete a five-minute micro-survey. The survey hopes to form a basic impression of existing post-planting maintenance programmes, and also to probe what factors Tree Officers consider important to investigate (in relation to successful tree establishment). The results of this survey will be used to refine her methodology when further researching this topic next year. 


The deadline for this survey has just been extended:

The survey closes on the 25th of November at 6 pm!

To take part in the survey click here:


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