The research has arisen from the need to put a focus on urban trees, according to programme manager Tony Hutchings. "In the Forestry Commission we seem to have missed the importance of the urban tree, so I am delighted that has come full circle," he said.
A total of 10 scientists are working on the project, which began in spring and has received £100,000 of funding for its first year. Hutchings told HW that the plan was to raise annual funding to £300,000 over the next three years.
"Trees are an important part of dealing with climate change in the future," he added. "But there is currently no clear system for identifying risks and benefits for a range of species or managing potential trade-offs in a risk-benefit context to support sustainable regeneration in towns and cities."
The project aims to develop an evidence base for urban trees so that the risks and benefits can be fully assessed by policy-makers and planners.