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Urban Trees/Forestry – ‘Tree Loss’: spatial and related impacts of built developments and infrastructure

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Dlr County Council Parks+Landscape Services is undetaking a comprehensive review and update of ‘dlr TREES’, A Tree Strategy for Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown 2011-2015′, its corporate document on amenity trees, that was adopted by the Council in 2011. The Council was the first of the state’s 31 city and county councils to publish a definitive tree strategy. The goal was to produce systematic, proactive and progressive approach to Arboriculture, informed by and aligned to best international practice.

Project Manager for the current review, Aidan J. ffrench Landscape Architect, has identified the need to undertake a quantitative assessment of the aggregate loss of mature trees and hedgerows arising from all types of permitted developments (mainly residential and commercial) and infrastructure (principally transport projects, e.g. M50 Southeastern Motorway and road schemes). Such an assessment would be useful in determining how much (hectares) and what percentage (of total land cover, and of total, original canopy cover) has been lost across the county in the 25-year period since the council’s established in 1994 (Re-organisation of Dublin County Council). The study would also inform the preparation of new and enhanced policy measures and development management controls, as part of the new, emerging Dlr Trees & Urban Forestry Strategy for the period, 2020-2030. Likewise, an evidenced-based assessed of recent Tree Loss, would assist in determining the new Strategy’s Targets for Tree Canopy Management and expansion of the tree resource; such targets are an essential policy element in tree strategies in the most advanced city strategies in other countries. The 2011-2015 Tree Strategy did not address the issue of canopy targets.

1. Methodology and Resources

Methodology would comprise spatial analysis based on remote sensing and/or aerial photography with some ‘ground-truthing’ for verification. Existing resources in include a series of aerial photography of the county, and open-source data at Geohive.ie. [Ordnance Survey Ireland].

2. Previous Research: In 2015 Dlr along with Dublin City Council, Fingal Co. Council, South Dublin Co. Council and the OPW commissioned a research project to assess tree canopy in the GDA (Greater Dublin Area). The research was undertaken and published by Dr. Gerard Mills, Michael Brennan and Tine Ningal of U.C.D Dept. of Geography as ‘Dublin Tree Canopy Study Final Report’ in March 2017. It provided the first baseline dataset of trees in the Dublin city and county areas.

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