Despite increasing knowledge and a raft of publications identifying the benefits of urban trees and urban forests, we are still losing trees in many British towns and cities, sometimes at an alarming rate. A paper by Andy Moffat published at the end of May in ‘Arboricultural Journal’ seeks to explore this dichotomy, identify possible causal factors and propose some ways to bring tree professionals, communities and politicians together so that urban trees can receive more appropriate recognition.
The paper reviews the multiple interpretations placed on urban forestry and points to weaknesses in current approaches to communicating the benefits of urban trees. It identifies new opportunities which should be used to engage urban people and build a new understanding of trees. Increasingly, use of digital communication is seen as the most effective way of reaching communities, together with evaluation systems that quantify the value of relevant ecosystem services to urban inhabitants. The paper strongly suggests that traditional methods of communication are not working and that a new approach is necessary, especially in recessionary times.