January 2016

Demystifying urban soils for arboriculture

Andy Moffat will be delivering a number of day workshops on urban soils for the Arboricultural Association in 2016. They have been designed to demystify soils for arboricultural practitioners and to break through the jargon and terminology that often confuse or wear down the potentially interested. Those enrolling on the one day course will, at the end, be able to:

  • Identify the major types of soil likely to be encountered in arboricultural practice
  • Understand the importance of good soil husbandry for trees
  • Understand the relationship between soils and tree rooting, and consequences for building subsidence
  • Specify appropriate manufactured soils for arboricultural use
  • Describe basic forms of soil analysis and when and why these are necessary
  • Explain particular soil problems associated with urban trees and how to remedy them
  • Articulate the risks associated with soil work and how to manage them
  • Identify sources of further good quality unambiguous information

The workshops will be run at locations at Stoneleigh, Warwickshire, Bristol, Wokingham and Preston. Further details and the opportunity to enrol can be found HERE.

A complimentary review of the first workshop was published in the ARB Magazine, Issue 173.

What’s preventing more rapid house building on brownfield land?

The relative lack of house building despite a large demand for housing is currently very newsworthy. Brownfield land has been prioritised by successive governments as suitable for new housing, yet it appears there are significant obstacles to this happening. Andy Moffat and Danni Sinnett of UWE have reviewed the role of the reclamation sector in helping to ease the conversion of brownfield land into new homes and places. Their article is now published on behalf of the British Land Reclamation Society in Planning & Building Control Today. In it, they argue that while some concerns about contamination and general despoliation may hinder conversion to housing, the reclamation sector has considerable knowledge and experience in dealing with these issues. Indeed, for many smaller projects, the issue of contamination is probably insignificant. They make a strong case for intelligent re-use of brownfield land and suggest that larger sites are very suitable for the creation of sustainable communities. You can access the text of the article HERE.

Citizen scientists: helping to protect the environment in the face of global population growth

The world’s population is now 7.39 billion and growing at a rate of over 225 000 each day – food, energy and water supplies are under increasing demand, threatening environmental sustainability. The ESRC sponsored ‘Nexus Network’ (http://www.thenexusnetwork.org/) sets out to find joined-up responses to this considerable challenge. Over the last year a series of ‘thinkpieces’ has been published on subjects as diverse as the use of organic wastes for food, energy production and water use to rethinking the provision of services in slums. The latest thinkpiece was published yesterday and discusses how citizen science might be used to help communicate and contribute to providing solutions to the challenges of the future. Andy Moffat was delighted to be invited to participate in this project, as a result of previous experience in the OPAL programme (see ‘Environmental and Arboricultural Assessment’ above). The full text of the Nexus thinkpiece can be downloaded HERE.