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“More quality than quantity” urge authors of new book on tree selection

by | 08 Nov 23 | Garden Design, Nature & Biodiversity, News

A new book on choosing trees for a changing climate has been released, with the launch having been delayed from last Thursday due to Storm Ciaran.

Garden designer and TV presenter Arit Anderson and Swedish tree expert Henrik Sjöman have been working on ‘The Essential Tree Selection Guide’ for the last four years. They were due to launch the book at Kew Gardens in Richmond last Thursday but strong winds led to the event being postponed.

Speaking at the Garden Museum in London yesterday, landscape architect Johanna Gibbons – who hosted a panel discussion with the authors – called the book “a wake-up call” that encourages readers “to be the champions of urban forestry”.

It explores trees for climate change, carbon storage and species diversity amongst other benefits to the ecosystem, pushing the idea of ‘right tree, right place’ to realise these benefits. A foreword by Kevin Martin, head of tree collections at Kew, says it offers “a modern-day approach to tree selection, and one that is desperately needed at this important time, as we see how our climate is changing.”

“We have to remember there are a lot of people who don’t like trees, who fear trees,” says Anderson, who presents on BBC Two’s Gardeners’ World. We need to convince people not to remove them, she adds, referencing the mass tree felling in Sheffield which locals have dubbed the ‘chainsaw massacre’.

Henrik Sjöman is scientific curator at Gotherburg Botanical Garden, a senior researcher at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences and an honorary research associate at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. He says people need to understand how nature and trees work, and “how their backyard is part of a bigger system,” such as the urban canopy. “More quality than quantity” is needed in tree planting, he adds.

An A-Z Tree Directory is based on Sjöman’s research and observation of trees in different climates and locations. It represents more than 500 trees chosen to meet a range of criteria, from their ecosystem benefits to their resilience. A Tree Selection Table offers readers key information at a glance.

The Essential Tree Selection Guide is available to purchase now.

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