urban forestry

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TREE MANAGEMENT PLANS

With our increasingly warmer and drier climate, there is a growing recognition within local government of the importance of increasing canopy cover. A tree management plan is crucial to not only deliver on canopy cover objectives but to also responsibly manage existing street tree assets.

We are experienced in providing services which assist in the development of tree management plans. Our services include data collection and analysis,  advisory services relating to tree life-cycle planning, tree valuation, and systems for conducting stakeholder engagement.

Data collection and analysis

We provide efficient and scalable tree data collection services. We collect data digitally, mapping tree location using GIS and GPS tools and using standardised fields for tree characteristics which can be customised to suit the needs of individual councils and to adapt to evolving analytics.  We can also provide tree data analysis services  (for example, determine the percentage of canopy cover and the quality of canopy cover within council boundaries) which can help optimise the management of urban forests. Our digital field data is also provided in formats which can typically be uploaded directly into local council asset management systems. 

Planning tree life-cycle management

We assist local councils plan for tree life cycle management so that the benefits of trees are maximised while minimising any associated risks. We do this by advising on appropriate species selection, tree management requirements and on systems to respond to identified risks and issues. 

Tree valuations

Urban forests provide important environmental and amenity benefits to communities. Valuing these benefits is an important dimension to tree management plans. We have expertise in tree valuation best practices, and can provide tree valuation services using i-Tree tools and amenity valuation methods including the Revised Burnley Method and the City of Melbourne's Amenity Value Formula.  

Stakeholder engagement

Identification of and consultation with key stakeholders is vital to the effective operation of a tree management plan. We can assist local councils by developing a framework for, and conducting, stakeholder identification and consultation to ensure that the tree management plan itself meets stakeholder expectations and as a working document contains workflow tools to interact effectively with other council services, while meeting compliance obligations including community notification and/or consultation. 

urban planning

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LOCAL PLANNING SCHEMES

Our team of experienced consultants have a depth of knowledge of local planning schemes across Victoria and in servicing Local Councils to administer and enforce these schemes as they impact trees.

Tree inspections

 We provide efficient and scalable tree inspection services to assist local councils:

  • assess tree risk notification requests from members of the public;
  • proactively manage the risks of tree assets on public land; and
  • administer and enforce local planning scheme controls relating to trees on private land.

We use electronic systems which are generally compatible with local council systems to:

  • review tree inspection requests in an electronic format;
  • provide tree inspection reports in an electronic format;
  • provide GIS information identify location of inspected tree;
  • access and use local council customer request systems;
  • access and use local council electronic tree management databases.

We are experienced in using widely recognised tree risk assessment methods such as ISA's Tree Risk Assessment Qualification (TRAQ). 

Advisory

We provide aboricultural advice to assist councils achieve their landscape, neighbourhood character (including heritage) and tree conservation objectives under local planning schemes.  Our team has extensive experience in local planning schemes across Victoria, is familiar with industry best practices and relevant Australian Standards (Australian Standard AS 4970-2009 - Protection of Trees on Development Sites; Australian Standard AS 4373-2007 - Pruning of Amenity Trees).  We provide high-quality arboricultural tree assessments (both verbal and in reports) to inform decisions on planning permit applications and tree removal/pruning permit applications, and assist with investigations into compliance issues involving trees.

Expert witness

We provide expert arboricultural evidence in planning disputes involving trees before VCAT and in compliance hearings in the Magistrates Court. 

Staff and community education

We are experienced educators and are regularly engaged to provide training sessions on a range of arboricultural topics to assist local council staff perform their role under local planning schemes and as the managers of extensive public tree assets. 


We also have extensive experience in community engagement and education and can provide tree tours of council tree assets to educate the community on their history, environmental, amenity and, where relevant, heritage significance.

advanced technologies

Image: extensive internal decay (left); and a loss of  24% of its strength, stem load SE (right)

SONIC TOMOGRAPHY AND RESISTANCE DRILLING

Where clients require a greater depth and precision of tree risk assessment to inform their decision-making, sonic tomography and drill resistance assessments are valuable tools to refine tree structure and stability assessments. We use a suite of advanced tree inspection technologies to undertake our sonic tomography and drill resistance assessments: Arbotom, Arboradix and Resistograph.

Arbotom® and Arboradix®

Arbotom assessments determine the extent of internal tree decay and the resulting strength loss. The Arbotom measures the time sonic waves take to travel through wood between sensors, which are typically placed around a tree's stem. The more damaged the wood, the slower the waves travel. The Arbotom software records and presents the data as a line graph or a 2-D coloured cross-sectional image. Green areas within the image represent sound wood, while yellow, orange and red areas indicate degrees of decay within the wood. When testing is done at different heights of a tree, the software creates a 3-D image. 


The Arboradix connects to the Arbotom system to map the presence of roots belonging to the tree being assessed. This can be a valuable tool to determine which roots belong to a particular tree, and to determine the location of roots of a particular tree. These insights can be useful to inform development impact assessments.

Resistograph®

The inner condition of trees and wood can be assessed by measuring the penetration resistance of a fine drill needle. We use the minimally invasive Resistograph to provide precise measurements and  professional charts.