Veteran Tree Management
Extensive travelling in Scotland and England and working
with trees since 1975 has led Astell Associates to an understanding
of Veteran Trees and their management.
Veteran trees are a unique part of the environment.
They are found in woods, parklands, associated with old buildings
(castles etc) or are found associated with different environmental
Their longevity is little understood, but over the
last few years, research has been progressing to try and understand
the many systems that operate within the descriptions of the Veteran
or Ancient Tree.
It is this understanding of these veteran trees that
has helped arborists to understand general tree ecology, by linking
trees not only to their air/land relationship through their leaves
and roots, but also to their links with other ecological systems,
as habitat for birds, freptiles, mammals and insects. This kaleidoscope
of inter-relationships, some beneficial, some not so beneficial,
means that a tree and its associated, and often parallel, biaology
is in a constant state of flux.
It is an understanding of this flux, and the state
of flux at the time of investigation of the tree, that is important
to the management of veteran trees.
No management is often good management, however, sometimes
no management in a physical sense, can be bad management. Different
veteran trees, of the same species and same age can need different
mangement proposals, depending on their structure and 'physicallity'.
This latter will depend on what has happened to the tree in the
past decades or centuries of its life.
This physical appearance and an assessment of structural
strength is also related to physiological conditions within the
tree, and the ebb and flow of the myriad life cycles that are occurring
on and within the ree itself.
Studies of veteran trees, and aspects of canopy failure,
and future risk have shown that it is difficult to predict a hazard
or future risk with certainty. However, these studies have given
'indicators' for management. These indicators, when interpreted
with a degree of common sense give a basis for veteran tree management
which is reliable.
Astell Associates have accepted the need for a holistic
approach to veteran tree management using all aspects of the tree's
interrelated biology to produce a management prescription. This
management is based on the observations of veteran trees and how
they have managed in the past to remain active and become a veteran.