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a national tree map and environmental audit

Treezilla is a collaborative project, begun in 2013, involving the Open University, Forest Research and Treeconomics. The aim is to map, measure and monitor trees, particularly those in urban environments in the UK and Ireland, as a basis for nurturing our arboreal legacy.

The South Wonston Tree Wardens are adding relevant trees to the database, as they comment on planning applications involving Tree Preservation Orders. Gradually, other significant trees around the Parish will also be recorded and submitted. Meanwhile, residents are encouraged to add the trees in their gardens (with the help of the Treezilla tree identification and survey guides).

The significant ecological and environmental benefits of trees are enumerated on the Treezilla web pages, and for the Village would include:

  1. storing and taking in carbon dioxide
  2. lowering flood risk by increasing evaporation after rainfall and reducing runoff
  3. improving air quality by taking pollution from the air
  4. sheltering and feeding a wealth of insects including pollinators
  5. providing nesting sites and food for birds and small mammals
  6. offering cooling in hot weather
  7. adding character to our Village, and generally
  8. improving residents’ quality of life

Approximating the dimensions of a tree and using the calculator associated with the Treezilla app it is possible to estimate an ecological value. For example, a 25m high sycamore with a 1m diameter trunk and a 20m wide canopy stores the equivalent of around 2000kg of carbon dioxide, and, through growth and leaf cover, removes a further 40kg each year. It will intercept rain water and avoid runoff, perhaps up to 10 cubic meters per annum. Pollution will also be reduced, improving air quality and removing in the region of perhaps 30g pollutants per annum in a Village like ours. Over the next ten years, considering these benefits, the economic value of this tree can be estimated at around £300. Of course, as with all our trees, whatever their age, this sycamore will make an immeasurable contribution to wilder South Wonston and our wellbeing.