Exeter to re-map tree cover amid fears of declining canopy

Exeter City Council is seeking volunteers to help map the Devon city's tree canopy, which it fears may be declining.

Image: HW
Image: HW

Exeter's tree canopy cover is above the national average, and stood at 24.5% when last mapped in 2006, in one of the earliest UK attempts to measure this.

The council says coverage "is reckoned to have gone down slightly" in the intervening 13 years, and is further threatened by new pests and diseases, as well as development and climate change.

Lead Councillor for Environment and City Management David Harvey said: "We know that with diseases like ash dieback, trees face an uncertain future. However we can do so much to ensure that Exeter stays green and healthy but we need help and that’s where the public fit in."

It will work with arboricultural consultancy Treeconomics, a pioneer in quanitifying the benefits of urban trees based at the University of Exeter.

"In order to effectively manage, we need to understand what we have," said Treeconomics urban forest technician Danielle Hill, who is coordinating the recruitment drive. "The results from this study will give us a greater knowledge of the composition and the value of our city’s trees."

Project volunteers will be given full training and equipment to undertake the task.

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